The off-the-pitch traits of Nathaniel Phillips and Ozan Kabak are helping the centre-half partnership flourish for Liverpool, Pepijn Lijnders believes.

The duo have kept clean sheets in all three of the fixtures they have started together in the heart of the Reds' backline. 

And in the eyes of the club's assistant manager, their opportunities and subsequent plaudits are richly deserved. 

"Nathaniel is an example where determination and respect can bring you, and an example how collectively this team and staff is working," Lijnders told

"He puts his head where other players don't put their feet. He has a heart like a lion. Probably if I need to survive in a jungle, the first two people I'd choose are Nathaniel and Millie! 

"Ozan is a big talent, so much progression is still possible. He adapted fantastically inside our club from a context like Schalke and had an immediate impact with Liverpool FC."

Kabak has been thrust into action for Jürgen Klopp's side after completing a loan switch from Germany on the final day of the winter transfer window. 

Phillips, meanwhile, enjoyed a temporary spell with VfB Stuttgart in the 2. Bundesliga last season as part of his unique footballing journey.

Asked if Phillips' story is one everyone can take something from, Lijnders replied: "That's absolutely true. 

"It's not the first time this will happen in our club and not the last, for sure. The passion, the ambition, the love for the game will always make or break you. 

"Luckily, we have many stories like that already. The willpower and character was the base of many of our boys to win with us. That gives me confidence that we will be back."