Liverpool boss Klopp explains decision to start Phillips vs West Ham

Jurgen Klopp has said they are "several reasons" behind his decision to give Nathaniel Phillips his first Premier League start.

The defender partners Joe Gomez at the heart of the Liverpool defence for their game with West Ham.

Klopp is struggling for options at the back with a host of players out injured such as Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho.

The latter suffered a knock in midweek which meant Phillips was in the mix to feature from the start in his absence with Klopp citing his familiarity with first team football as a plus.

"Nat is the most experienced of the guys," said the German.

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"He looks good in training, is a proper challenger, he loves the one on one situations and is good in the air. It's a special day for him 100%."

Phillips may be a relatively unknown quantity but the defender is by no means a youngster at 23 years of age.

He joined the Reds four years ago following a successful trial with the Reds academy.

His only Liverpool start thus far was in their FA Cup win over Everton last season, a match in which Curtis Jones scored a sensational winner.

Phillips has had plenty of exposure to first-team football having been on loan at Stuttgart last term.

The centre-half has been given the nod ahead of Rhys Williams, who came off the bench to replace Fabinho in the Champions League this week.

Phillips has not been named in the Reds' European squad whereas Williams has.

Klopp has gone with the recognised attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino.

While in midfield Jones starts in the top flight for just the second time alongside Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum.

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