It seems like this was planned all along by Liverpool, and it actually makes a lot of sense.
Nat Phillips spent the first half of the campaign on loan at German side Stuttgart, but returned to the Merseyside Reds in January and even started in the win over Everton in The FA Cup.
It seemed like he might even go on to become part of the line-up for the rest of the season, but it turns out he’s due to go back to Stuttgart:
Germany have a January break, so it looks like Liverpool decided to recall him and use him to cover the first-team for the busy schedule in January. He might have dropped out on a break, but the experience should be beneficial for his growth in the long term.
It will be interesting to see if clubs start to do this more frequently. Rules dictate that a player can usually only play for two teams in a campaign, but we always hear that the PL schedule around Christmas is especially heavy on the players, so this would give them some useful cover for a few weeks.
He certainly didn’t look out of place versus Everton, so it will be interesting to see how he fares back in Germany and if that leads to him becoming a member of the Red’s first-team squad next season.