Jurgen Klopp gives verdict on Nat Phillips’ San Siro Cruyff turn on Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The Reds defender caught the eye thanks to an outrageous piece of skill in his own box.

Nathaniel Phillips duels with AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fielded a completely new back four as the Reds headed into their final Champions League group game with AC Milan already assured of top spot.

Konstantinos Tsimikas, Ibrahima Konate, Neco Williams and Nat Phillips lined up in defence for the San Siro encounter and the makeshift unit was picked out for special praise by Klopp following a 2-1 win in Italy.

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But it was Phillips, making his first start of the season for the Reds, who really caught the eye thanks to  an outrageous piece of skill in his own box.

Running towards his own goal and under pressure from Rossoneri stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Franck Kessié, the 24-year-old centre-back pulled off a brilliant Cruyff turn that left the pair chasing fresh air.

Defensive partner Konate was so stunned he threw his arms up in disbelief.

And the cheeky move didn’t escape the notice of Klopp either, who turned to give his bench a knowing look in the immediate aftermath.

What Jurgen Klopp said about Phillips’ Cruyff turn

Speaking to the Liverpool boss after the match, BT Sport’s touchline reporter said he had noticed the German turn to his coaching staff when Phillips bamboozled Ibrahimovic inside the box and asked: “Did you afford yourself a smile after that moment?”

“The situation of the game man!” Klopp responded with a laugh.

“He played an outstanding game. It’s really ridiculous.”

The Reds manager added: "I really thought we defended exceptionally well.

Jurgen Klopp shares a word with Nat Phillips. Photo: Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

"The plan of Milan was playing through the centre, through the half-spaces between the winger and our eights. We made it complicated because of the disciplined work of all of the players.

"I have to say Nat Phillips and Ibou Konate played an exceptional game, absolutely exceptional game.

"How they defended tonight was outstanding, I am really proud of the boys."

What’s next for Nat Phillips?

The defender unexpectedly signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool on transfer deadline day after making 24 appearances for the reds during the 2020-21 season.

However, he has played just 224 minutes of first team football this term and has been linked with a move to West Ham United.

The Hammers are reportedly looking to secure a £12 million deal in the January transfer window.