John Aldridge has suggested that Liverpool chose not to hold on to on-loan star Ozan Kabak due to the form of Nathaniel Phillips since the turn of the year.
The Englishman has led the backline for much of the second-half of the season, helping the Reds secure a remarkable 26 points from their final 30 to ensure Champions League qualification for the 2021/22 campaign.
“As the Sunday World revealed exclusively back in March, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate is on his way to Liverpool and I’m pretty sure Ozan Kabak would have been signed as well after he did a decent job during his loan spell from Schalke,” the former striker claimed in his column for the Sunday World.
“Yet Kabak is returning to Schalke and I’m sure the form of Phillips is linked to that decision.
“He is fantastic in the air and against teams like Burnley who play long ball football, he could be a great option to play alongside Van Dijk next season.”
As things stand, the Schalke defender is set to return to the German outfit, having reportedly said his goodbyes to the Liverpool squad.
It’s something of a shame to see the Turkey international not remain permanently in Merseyside following an impressive half-season in the English top-flight, despite having to adapt to a new league, tactics, and teammates.
For £18m on an option-to-buy, we were certainly hardly being ripped off for the defender’s services.
As such, when considering the form of Phillips, it’s not difficult to see how Aldridge has reached the conclusion that the decision to part ways with Kabak was motivated at least in part by the performances of the Bolton-born centre-half.