Nat Phillips did his Liverpool prospects no harm with a solid Premier League debut against West Ham United.
The centre-back was drafted into Jurgen Klopp’s side for Saturday night’s showdown at Anfield.
The 23-year-old, who had a spell on loan at Bundesliga II outfit Stuttgart last season, lined up alongside Joe Gomez in central defence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Fabinho.
Former Reds ace Jamie Carragher picked him out as the star man on Sky Sports.
“There was a lot of talk going into this game about who would go in,” said Carragher.
“He mentioned that the manager said to him to get yourself ready for Saturday, so he’d have known, there would’ve been talk in the press.
“Whenever you talk about Fabinho being out and Gomez being there, but what they lack is domination in the air, and when you play against teams – not a top team – but most teams in the league will look for set-pieces, direct balls, crosses into the box, second balls and Liverpool didn’t deal with that at all against Sheffield United, and that’s what caused them big problems.
“But him today, to be the one, the leader at the back and make sure you get your head on it, because normally that would be Van Dijk.
“Yes, he’s the same size, but sometimes it’s not just about size in vital moments in set-pieces, I’ve been there myself and you sometimes think you have to get your head on that.
“That’s what he did. He found himself at the near post (for the last minute headed clearance), it was a vital header and that won Liverpool the game, really.
“If he doesn’t get his head on it, who knows what’s gonna happen? West Ham are a really big team, so I love the maturity that he showed.
“Joe Gomez, obviously not great for the goal, but he was a lot better in the air than he was against Sheffield United.”
Liverpool legend Graeme Souness was also impressed, adding: “The manager now knows that he can deal with Premier League football.
“OK, he didn’t have the most testing time against (Sebastien) Haller. I’m trying to think, there was one unforced error he made when he tried passing into midfield which was a little bit careless, but other than that, he was faultless.
“He’s now proven he can play in the Premier League, and they may need him depending on how bad Fabinho’s injury is.
“We know that Virgil van Dijk is gonna be out for a period of time. You just never know what’s round the corner in football, and when you’ll get an opportunity.
“Tonight, it’s opened for him and he’s grabbed it with both hands.”