Liverpool defender Nat Phillips has admitted concern that his career may have “peaked” following his recent Champions League outing.
Phillips has emerged from the fringes this season to become a surprise key star in Jurgen Klopp’s team.
Indeed, he moved to Anfield in 2016 before spending three years in the Under-23s and two loan spells at Stuttgart.
As such, his progression to the first team looked unlikely last summer and he featured on the free-to-go list.
However, with all three senior centre-halves injured, Phillips has claimed a role at the heart of defence. He has enjoyed a stellar rise since, making his Premier League debut in October and Champions League bow last week.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp piled praise on the 23-year-old for his performance against RB Leipzig, but with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to return next season, Phillips is aware that his chances will not last.
“It would be sad if I go on with the rest of my career and it is already peaked. That would be a shame,” he told The Telegraph.
“It is important to me that it [the game against Leipzig] does not become the biggest occasion or best game that I have ever played in.
“I try not to think about it too much because you can tie yourself in knots. My thought process is to take things day by day.
“I want to continue to keep having those moments. To be able to do that I have to be competing at a very high level in my career.”
Phillips put in a strong display in his first Premier League appearance, against West Ham.
He has since made nine other outings, including eight more in the top flight. What’s more, he made his third appearance alongside January signing Ozan Kabak against Leipzig.
Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have also filled in, but Klopp told a recent press conference that he will not split Phillips and Kabak up if he does not have to.
Klopp keen to keep Phillips, Kabak together
“I hope they will stay fit, but I cannot sit here and give guarantees for these kind of things,” Klopp said.
“It looked good. If they are physically ready to go again, which I hope, then why should I change it?
“We want to have consistency, and we never had that. Hopefully they can play a lot of games if not all of them.
“If not we have to find solutions. Rhys Williams, I don’t want to forget him, he’s in a good moment.”