Nathaniel Phillips hinted that he could be set for an Anfield exit this summer after insisting on the importance of playing regular football for a side.
The Englishman was granted a chance to shine at Liverpool following long-term injuries sustained to key players in the squad, being a reliable presence in the backline for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they mounted a late charge for the top four spots.
“I’d just had my first state of playing for a first team in front of fans, bringing value to a side and being more than just a training player in Stuttgart and I loved it,” the defender told the Echo.
“I was looking forward to building on that. I was realistic enough to know that while Virgil, Joe, Joel and even Fab were there, they were all ahead of me in the pecking order.
“It would have taken extreme circumstances for that to change for me, which no-one would have foreseen, for me to have a chance of playing.
“Even just playing, I wanted to be playing regularly and someone who brings value to a side and adds something. That’s what I was getting by moving away.
“When the possibility of me not playing football for a first team in a competitive manner seemed to be taken away and wasn’t coming to fruition for half a season, it got me worrying a bit because I am aware of my age.
“I didn’t want to turn into one of these players who is 24 or 25 with barely any games under their belt. At my age, I need to be playing games.”
The centre-half did admit that he had enjoyed his time playing for Liverpool and opened himself to the possibility of a future with the club depending on how talks with the former Dortmund boss go.
“We haven’t had a conversation about it up until now. I think the situation is, initially they didn’t anticipate me having the season and putting in the performances that I did do,” the 24-year-old added.
“Maybe where they might have thought I was just going to do a job and then they would be able to sell me and I would move on, now they’re having second thoughts. I’m not sure.
“I still need to have the conversations with them and just see if there is a role for me there and what role they would want me to play.
“It would depend on if they saw a role for me at Liverpool and then what role that would be. I would have to decide what is best for myself off the back of that.”
Having since signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig, Phillips will be set to compete for minutes with the first-team not only against Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez but yet another high-quality centre-half with world-class potential.
Wanting regular playing time, we could hardly begrudge the Bolton-born player from seeking pastures new if talks with the manager paint a grim picture for his future in Merseyside.
As things stand, the former loanee would be a remarkable backup option to have, though we could very well see him parting ways with us as soon as the window opens if he feels minutes will be hard to come by.