Ian Wright has hailed Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips for his role in the build-up to his side’s first goal against Liverpool on Saturday evening.
The Whites played out a thrilling 4-3 defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s defending champions, with a late Mo Salah penalty denying Marcelo Bielsa’s men a famous opening day point at Anfield.
After going a goal behind early on, Leeds drew level courtesy of a superb strike from Jack Harrison, assisted by Phillips.
And Wright made a point of highlighting the England international’s quality during his analysis of that goal.
Speaking on Match of the Day (BBC One, Saturday September 12th, 10.25pm), he said: “Look at that, Kalvin Phillips with so much time – magnificent pass.
“But look how high they [Liverpool] are.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold gets dragged in by Harrison, but it’s two touches and finish.
“You have to have pressure on the ball, you have to.”
Wright is absolutely right to question Liverpool’s defending in the build-up to Harrison’s goal, but in no way should that detract from the quality of his strike, or more pertinently, Phillips’ pass.
While it’s true that he is afforded acres of space on the ball, a large part of the reason for that is because he’s dropped in so deep to receive possession from Illan Meslier.
Phillips then gets his head up, and whereas a lot of players would have pressed into the space ahead of them with the ball at their feet, the Leeds man spots the run of Harrison early, and looks to get his pass off.
The flighted ball cuts out the entire Liverpool defence, and forces Alexander-Arnold to turn on his heels and chase Harrison.
At this point the Reds are seriously stretched.
And while it’s true that Harrison still has an awful lot left to do to put the ball in the back of the net, none of it would have been possible without the foundation of that brilliant pass.
Moments like this from Phillips are further proof, as if we needed any, that he will thrive in the Premier League.
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