Competition for places means no one is guaranteed a spot – including Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho

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Daniel Sturridge warms up on the sidelines up at Anfield. LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom.
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James Milner cites competition for places in the squad as a reason for Liverpool’s impressive displays so far this season.

In recent years, Liverpool has had a lack of quality within the squad and it was fairly predictable which players would be selected. This season, however, such is the level of competition for places that no player is guaranteed a starting berth – not even Phil Coutinho or Danny Sturridge.

This level of competition has resulted in a rise in the level of the performances put in by the Liverpool players. After six league games, the Reds are sitting pretty in fourth with 13 points from an available 18 and have scored 16 goals.

Having seen off the likes of Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea, scoring a combined 10 goals in the process, Jurgen Klopp’s side has only a 2-0 defeat to Burnley to frown about. A 5-1 demolition of Hull City has gone a long way to dispelling the bogey that Liverpool cannot beat the smaller sides in the league and the intensity shown on Saturday was akin to that of what is seen against the likes of Manchester City.

James Milner told Liverpoolfc.com that the reason for his team’s incredible performances is the level of competition within the squad.

“You look down the squad list and the quality is unbelievable,” Milner told Liverpoolfc.com.

“You see the bench and some boys have been injured, some players aren’t in the squad, and the young boys who are knocking around the squad with such quality. It’s pleasing.

“And you know if you don’t perform, the shirt is going to be taken off you and someone else is going to get the chance. And you don’t know how long they are going to have that shirt for.

“You need that competition for places to drive each other on. Hopefully we can keep improving as a team.”

Milner has scored three penalties in the 2016/17 season already. One against Spurs in a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane and two against Hull City have ensured the Englishman maintained his 100% record from the penalty spot since becoming the designated penalty-kick taker.

He added: “It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet.

“Hopefully they keep going in, that’s the main thing. With the dribblers we’ve got in the team, when they get in the box you can’t really touch them.

“We have to train against these boys and with the feet they have got it’s pretty difficult at times. Hopefully the penalties keep going in.”

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.

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