London - Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool have recalled Nathaniel Phillips from his loan spell with German club Stuttgart in response to a sudden shortage of centre-backs at Anfield.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is down to two fit senior central defenders in Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, with Joel Matip (knee) and Dejan Lovren (hamstring) both sidelined and midfielder Fabinho - a possible replacement - also out with a knee injury.
Now a recall for the 22-year-old Phillips, who has made 11 appearances for the Bundesliga 2 side this season, could see him make his debut in the FA Cup third round Merseyside derby tie at home to Everton on January 5.
"Liverpool have reached an agreement with Stuttgart for Nathaniel Phillips to return from his loan spell in January," Liverpool said in a statement issued on Friday.
Liverpool, bidding to be crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, surged 13 points clear at the top of the table with a 4-0 win at second-placed Leicester on Thursday.