Jack Hallows loves penalties and James Milner, so here’s his analysis of Milner’s penalty record for the Reds and why it’s so impressive.
He’s got seven in seven this season for the Reds, getting the better of Michel Vorm, Willy Caballero, Lukas Fabianski and even David De Gea in the process. Add to that his tally of three in three last season where he netted a further two in the Europa League and one in the Premier League and James Milner has a faultless 10/10 record for Liverpool FC from the spot.
While he didn’t exactly come to Liverpool with the widely recognised reputation of being a spot kick aficionado, a little bit of research reveals Milner has always been a very good penalty taker.
In fact, you have to go all the way back to his days at Aston Villa for the last time the Englishman missed a penalty in his professional career. That occasion was back in 2009 in a Premier League match against Bolton and Milner has only ever missed on two other occasions with his total career record standing at 21/24.
That’s an incredible 88% success rate. For reference, Steven Gerrard, who is widely regarded as one of the best penalty takers in Liverpool history, has a career success rate of 85%, missing 8 out of 54.
Where does Milner’s seven from seven this season leave him on the list of best penalty takers around Europe then?
He’s far and away the best in the Premier League thus far this season with Jermaine Defoe his nearest competition with five from five and Harry Kane one behind him on four out of five.
However, penalty takers in Ligue 1 certainly give Milner a run for his money. Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette has an astonishing 10 penalty goals from 11 attempts this season while Edison Cavani and Fabinho have both equalled Milner’s tally with seven each. Milner can also boast a better record than Cristiano Ronaldo from the spot this season with the Portuguese also taking seven penalties but missing once.
In a season that has seen a number of penalty misses across Europe’s top division – and even in the Champions League – Milner’s ability from the spot is made even more impressive.
The key to his penalty scoring record?
A no-nonsense style of putting them away. Far too many players try to over elaborate their penalties in modern football in an attempt to throw off goalkeepers and only end up succeeding in putting themselves off.
Stutter run-ups, altering the angle of their runs, pausing at the last second before trying to pass the ball into the goal and panenkas are all seen – and missed – far too often in modern football and the old mantra of run up, bang it past the keeper and give him no chance seems to have gone out the window. Not for Milner.
The Englishman runs up confidently, picks his spot and gives the goalkeeper no chance. Impressively, Milner also seemingly doesn’t have a majorly preferred spot, unlike most players. This season he’s fired two bottom left, one down the middle and four bottom right. Liverpool’s penalty king? Right now, he sure is.