Nat Phillips is ‘closing in on’ a season-long loan move to Celtic.
The 26-year-old has long been expected to leave Liverpool this summer, either permanently or on loan, and has not played a minute of football for the Reds so far in 2023/24.
Phillips shone unexpectedly during the 2020/21 season when an extreme injury crisis saw him rise up the pecking order. However, since that campaign – during which he featured 20 times in all competitions – Phillips has made just eight appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side and is now viewed as surplus to requirements.
Championship clubs Leeds United and Middlesbrough had been tipped to move for the centre back in recent weeks, but the Times reports that Celtic closing in on a move, with Brendan Rodgers accelerating plans to bring in another defender due to an injury crisis.
The Scottish champions have lost Cameron Carter-Vickers and Maik Nawrocki to hamstring injuries, while Stephen Welsh is recovering from surgery. They face Rangers in their first Old Firm match of the season on Sunday.
Though Phillips’ departure has long been anticipated, should the move be confirmed this week, it will leave Liverpool with just two senior centre backs fit and available for Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa.
Captain Virgil van Dijk will be suspended for the encounter, following his red card at Newcastle, while Ibrahima Konate missed last weekend’s game through injury.
In addition to expected starters Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, the Reds can also call on 20-year-old Jarell Quansah, who made his debut off the bench in the win over Newcastle.
The Reds are known to be in the market for defensive reinforcements – Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie has been looked at – but a move will need to happen before Friday’s 11pm BST transfer deadline. It’s an outcome that looks increasingly unlikely.
Speaking last week about his defensive situation, Klopp said: “In an ideal world, we have six, seven, eight centre-halves and cover for absolutely everything… No, we need to be lucky with injuries, there is no doubt about that.”