Jurgen Klopp suggested in his pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool vs Wolves that the plan is for Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak to be the team’s starting centre-backs for the ‘rest’ of the season.
Klopp admitted that he hopes they will ‘stay fit’, in a necessary wish to voice after the Reds’ nightmare of losing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all to long-term injuries this season.
The German insisted that with the current indications suggesting that loanee Kabak and academy graduate Phillips are ‘available’, there is not plan to ‘change’ the pairing, with ‘consistency’ eyed.
Klopp added that the hope is for the duo to ‘play a lot of games – if not all of the rest’ this season, as the Reds look to overcome dire form in the Premier League and continue to advance in the UCL.
Liverpool’s manager, who has come under fire following the side’s disastrous run of results since the turn of the new year, also admitted that the other January recruit in Ben Davies still has to ‘adapt’.
The Reds recruited the 25-year-old on Deadline Day like Kabak, in a permanent deal from Championship side Preston, which is worth a total of up to £1.6m but a guaranteed fee of just £500,000.
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Jurgen Klopp has stated that the intention is for Phillips and Kabak to be the starting centre-backs for Liverpool for the rest of the season, whilst Ben Davies ‘has to adapt’… pic.twitter.com/kefF8Tl6J4
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“There is no test now or whatever, there’s no testing period about long-term future and stuff like this. No, we will see. I hope they will stay fit. I cannot sit here and give guarantees for these kinds of things.”
“I’ve heard nothing different so far, so they are still available and look good. If they are physically ready to go again – which I hope – then why should we change it? That’s clear.”
“You want to have consistency and we never had. How I said, that looked really good, hopefully they can play a lot of games – if not all of the rest, but if not we have to find solutions again.”
“Rhys Williams, I don’t want to forget him, he’s in a good moment. Ben Davies has to adapt, it was always clear, a lot of players came here to Liverpool – the most famous story is maybe Andy Robertson.”
“Took him half a year, in a normal season, where pretty much everything else was kind of settled, to settle in. Ben is a really good player, but he has to get used to all the stuff here as well.”
“These kinds of things, that’s how it is. What we have now are options and hopefully it will stay like this.”
Davies has not made his debut for the Anfield outfit yet, only managing to be named in the matchday squad on four occasions since joining.
Klopp did say that the Preston academy graduate is a ‘really good play’, but admitted Davies still to get ‘used to’ a lot of stuff at Liverpool, hinting that the centre-back may not feature at all this term.
Some Liverpool fans may be disappointed by Klopp’s suggestions, thankfully the deal doesn’t appear to have represented a large financial outlay at all and at the end of the day Davies is still cover should they be unfortunate enough to suffer any more injuries to their centre-backs before the campaign’s end.
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