Former Leeds defender Alex Bruce has said that current Whites midfielder Kalvin Phillips “has got huge potential” and believes that he could move to Liverpool in the wake of reported interest from the Reds.
Earlier this week, Bleacher Report journalist Dean Jones claimed that the Merseysiders are considering a move for the 24-year-old this summer as Jurgen Klopp seeks to bolster his squad in the transfer market.
Bruce feels that Phillips could find any advances from Liverpool too difficult to turn down and, when asked whether the midfielder has what it takes to succeed at Anfield if he were to make the move, he told Football Insider: “I think there’s no reason why he wouldn’t, why doesn’t everybody deserve the opportunity?
“He’s got great potential, he’s an excellent player, I think he would take some prising away from Leeds because Leeds in the Premier League, he’s a Leeds lad, everybody can see he’s got a huge, huge rapport with the supporters.
“However, when a club like Liverpool comes in, if they are in for him, then obviously that would turn anyone’s head. I don’t see any reason why that would be nonsense because he’s a very good player, he’s young, the right age and has got huge potential.”
Bruce is quite right to highlight Phillips as a player with “huge potential”, given that he is still reasonably young and has racked up some tremendous performance figures for Leeds this season as a regular starter in their midfield. The 24-year-old has averaged 2.8 successful tackles per game, demonstrating no shortage of steel as the Whites’ midfield anchor, but when he wins the ball he can also use it to very good effect – he has a match average of 1.9 key passes in the current campaign.
By way of comparison, the highest tackles-per-game average at Liverpool is 2.2 from Jordan Henderson, with Fabinho the only other Reds player to win more than two tackles per game. In terms of key passes, only right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold among Klopp’s squad has a better match average than Phillips, with the 21-year-old recording 2.6 per game.
Phillips has indeed posted some impressive statistics from the 2019/20 season and, although he would face substantial midfield competition if he came to Liverpool, other players at Anfield have earned a long-term place in Klopp’s first XI after initially being cast in the role of backup. Andrew Robertson was second choice to Alberto Moreno at left-back in his first season at the club in 2017/18 before an ankle injury to the Spaniard gave the ex-Hull man his chance and he has never looked back.
In Phillips’ defensive midfield position, Fabinho had to wait for nearly a quarter of his first Premier League season in 2018/19 before eventually getting his debut in the competition and he became a first team mainstay by the end of the campaign, a status he has maintained throughout this season as well.
Therefore, Bruce is justified in saying that the Leeds midfielder could be tempted by a move to the runaway Premier League leaders and that he has the ability to succeed at Anfield, even if he might not get into the first XI straight away should he make the move.
Liverpool fans, what did you make of Bruce’s verdict on Phillips? Do you think the Leeds midfielder would be worth pursuing in the transfer market? Comment below with your views!
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