Klopp had reportedly been giving consideration to deploying Jordan Henderson at the heart of his defence, but instead opted to hand Phillips, who spent last season on loan at Stuttgart, his Premier League debut.
The 23-year-old’s only previous first team appearance came during last season’s FA Cup third round win over Everton, but Klopp claims the decision to pick Phillips ahead of the likes of youngster Rhys Williams was an easy one.
He said: ‘It’s a special day for him. Nat is the most experienced of the guys – there was no need for a midfielder there. He’s looked good in training.
‘There are plenty of reasons why we went with Nat, the show is not long enough! Nat is not in contentions for the Champions League, he looked good in training, a proper challenger – it was an easy decision to be honest
‘Nat loves the one vs one situations – he is good in the air. With the type of guy he is – he wouldn’t have expected this a couple of years ago. Let’s help him to make the best game he is able to do.’
‘I expect him to defend like a soldier and attack like a scouser,’ said the Liverpool manager outlining his expectations for Jones.
‘Being cheeky, playing football, being free, behind the lines – taking the opportunity – no-one is in doubt about his skills. It’s a perfect moment for him.’