Liverpool analysis – Reds get double defensive boost as Ben Davies deal nears – Liverpool Echo

Another huge week

So Liverpool will head into their biggest week since, well, the last one when they reconvene on Monday morning.

What a difference a few days can make in football.

They certainly have for Jurgen Klopp as he surveys the new landscape of the Premier League title picture.

Six points from six against the two teams either side of them has moved the champions into third and they are now looking upwards only.

Stumbles and slips for Manchester United and Leicester have helped, but Liverpool’s conviction, belief and desire has been there for all to marvel at this week.

After being prematurely written off by so many, they have emerged from their mid-season slump in stunning fashion.

Now, they look every inch the side that swept all before them last term.

Add in some much-needed cover at centre-back on transfer deadline day and Liverpool’s prospects are looking a lot healthier than they did eight days ago when they were dumped out of the FA Cup by a Manchester United team who sat six points ahead of them in the league.

The six goals scored have also swatted aside talk of barren runs and goal droughts and given the Reds the shot in the arm they so sorely needed at just the right time.

But the big fixtures are not stopping for Liverpool as they prepare to welcome Brighton to Anfield on Wednesday.

The recent slip at Burnley will make sure no eyes are glancing at Sunday’s showdown with Manchester City, but victory against the Seagulls will mean the visit from Pep Guardiola’s men will take even more significance.

A title-decider? Perhaps not quite.

But it could be the game that swings the momentum back in their favour.

Jones has arrived

For the best part of an hour, Liverpool had toiled in the capital.

There was no lack of effort on display, but the inspiration of Thursday night at Tottenham had not drifted over to the other side of London on Sunday afternoon.

The hour mark was nearing and Liverpool were once again being kept at bay by a workmanlike West Ham.

Enter Curtis Jones.

James Milner had cut a frustrated figure next to Jurgen Klopp after taking umbrage with his departure.

Moments later though, Jones’ dribble had opened up the West Ham defence, Salah had made it 1-0 and it was all smiles between the vice-captain and his manager.

With Naby Keita continuing to regain his fitness, Jones offers the Reds’ midfield something no-one else in that engine room does.

The former Under-23 captain has an ability to drive forward and carry the fight. It is a quality that is able to unravel tightly wounded defences, too.

Last season was one Jones will never ever forget as a Liverpool player.

As well as goals against Everton, Shrewsbury and Aston Villa, he also became the youngest captain in the club’s history aged just 19 years and five days.

In many ways, though, this season has been even more impressive than the last as he has become more mature in this Liverpool squad.

No longer is the local lad a promising youngster only, his importance is growing by the week.

Having turned 20 over the weekend, Jones, with 23 appearances to his name this season, is now a fully-fledged first-team player at Anfield.

With that comes responsibility, but has taken that into his stride perfectly.

Here comes the cavalry – but understudies can be proud

After 31 days, Liverpool’s centre-back search mercifully, belatedly, appears to be at an end.

It’s a search that has changed from a curious glance to a frantic hunt as the month has worn on.

But the Reds, it would appear, have found their man.

Speculative punters would have earned a fair crust had they put their money on a £2million deal for Preston North End’s Ben Davies, though.

The 25-year-old is set for a Monday medical before adding some much-needed cover to a depleted area of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

That Davies might be lining up in a Liverpool team that entertains Manchester City on Sunday afternoon is further proof, if it was needed, of just how strange this sport can be at times.

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah

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But even allowing for an impressive defensive showing at the London Stadium – and, in fairness, at Tottenham on Thursday – Liverpool could not allow that papering to fool them into thinking the cracks had been sealed.

Nat Phillips has answered the call on a number of occasions for Klopp this season, playing his part in three wins and two draws from his five Premier League appearances.

Here he was again against the Hammers, offering a no frills brand of defending, winning headers, keeping it simple and ensuring the hosts were kept at bay.

Pick your LFC Man of the Match right here

The way this unpredictable season has gone so far, you would not rule out Phillips still having a key part to play in Liverpool’s campaign.

But while Davies’ impending arrival will likely see a reduced role for Phillips going forward, the Bolton-born defender will return to being a background artist with a huge sense of pride.

Deservedly so, too.