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Newcastle United takeover: Coutinho, Ramsey, Sterling? Picking out potential transfer targets

By Sports Desk October 08, 2021

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  • 'The stars aligned for me' - Ajaz Patel proud to join elite 10-wicket haul club 'The stars aligned for me' - Ajaz Patel proud to join elite 10-wicket haul club
  • Klopp compares Phillips improvement to Lewandowski Klopp compares Phillips improvement to Lewandowski

    Jurgen Klopp has claimed the improvement he has seen in Nat Phillips reminds him of Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski.

    The Liverpool boss managed Lewandowski at Borussia Dortmund between 2010-2014, where the Poland striker scored 103 goals in 187 games before moving to Bayern.

    Klopp was forced to rely on Phillips for much of last season after injuries decimated his defensive options.

    The Bolton-born centre back - who also has some German football experience from a loan period at Stuttgart two seasons ago - became a regular part of Liverpool's backline after Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip had all been sidelined with long-term injuries.

    While the Reds fell away from the title race in the second half of the campaign, with the help of Phillips, they were able to secure third place and Champions League football thanks to a late-season resurgence.

    Phillips particularly showed his aerial prowess, winning 96 aerial duels in his 17 Premier League games. Only nine defenders won more, all of whom played at least 13 more games than the 24-year-old.

    Klopp sees a lot of similarities in the improvements shown under him by Lewandowski and Phillips.

    "People often ask me which player made the biggest improvements under my leadership, and I say Robert Lewandowski," he said.

    "That's probably right, but not far off that is Nat Phillips, just in a completely different department.

    "I remember when I saw Nat Phillips first. I spoke to him after the game and he's one of the smartest players I ever worked with. I told him, 'You know you are not the easiest on the eye, eh?'

    "He improved in pretty much everything since, and he's not playing. Life is sometimes not fair and I can't blame him."

    Phillips has been linked with a move away from Anfield in the January transfer window after making just three appearances this season, with Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip all back from injury and Ibrahima Konate signed from RB Leipzig at the end of last season.

    "We cannot keep him forever, that's clear," Klopp added. "We needed him, just to be safe, for that half-year. We will see what happens in the window. He was fine doing it because he's a great guy.

    "His development is absolutely insane. You saw it last year, you would have said 'Nat Phillips, oh my god, he plays in the last line?'

    "People love him because of his heading but with his feet he is unbelievable. He's a late starter, but his development is unbelievable. I would sign him for any club except Liverpool, because we have him."

  • A-League: Yuel turns the tide as Melbourne City are beaten A-League: Yuel turns the tide as Melbourne City are beaten

    Sydney FC surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Newcastle Jets on Saturday and prolong their winless start to the season.

    The 2020 champions looked in control against a side they had beaten nine times in 12 previous home games, Adam Le Fondre opening the scoring from the penalty spot before cleverly setting up Elvis Kamsoba for a 2-0 half-time lead.

    However, Valentino Yuel puled a goal back before the hour mark and struck again seven minutes later, firing high into the net after a strong run into the box.

    Le Fondre thought he had scored a winner 13 minutes from time only for VAR to intervene due to an offside in the build-up.

    While Sydney remain without a win in three games, reigning champions Melbourne City have fared little better, losing 1-0 at home to Western United on matchday three.

    Dylan Wenzel-Halls followed up his winner over Perth Glory on November 26 with the only goal of the game at AAMI Park, firing home after being played in by Alessandro Diamanti.

    Adelaide United drew for the third game in a row as Brisbane Roar claimed their first point of the season, with six saves from visiting goalkeeper James Delianov ensuring a goalless draw at Moreton Daily Stadium.

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