James Milner confident of sealing a Champions League place

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James Milner of Liverpool looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield on April 23, 2017 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images Europe

Liverpool’s vice-captain James Milner is confident that the Reds can seal the deal and get through their playoff round with a victory. 

James Milner is already looking ahead to the 2017/18 season and has shifted his focus straight onto Liverpool’s Champions League play-off round to be played in August.

The Reds will play a two-legged fixture to determine whether or not they take part in the Champions League or the Europa League with the first leg set to take place on August 15/16 and the second on August 22/23.

“The off season is always a funny one – you enjoy yourself and relax but you’ve always got one eye on pre-season and making sure you’re right and ready to go again,” Milner told Liverpool FC’s official website.

“Obviously it’s a big start to the season for us.”

“Pre-season is always tough, nobody particularly enjoys it. But with the tours and the Champions League qualifier we want to hit the ground running and start the season well. So it’s important you’re ready to go.”

The Reds put a lot of hard work into finishing in the top four last season, recovering from a horrendous dip in form over the January period to scrape in on the final day and finish one point ahead of usual fourth-placed residents Arsenal.

Milner believes given the standard of the top six compared to the rest of the league last season, that Liverpool’s top four finish was an achievement in itself but that they would be disappointed if they cannot finish the job.

“It’s not easy to get into the qualifiers even – top four in the Premier League is tough,” said Milner.

“We’ve done part of the job but we have to finish that now. It would be disappointing not to make it after all the hard work we did last year. I’m sure we will.”

“We’re improving all the time as a team and you can see that over the last couple of years since the manager has come in. We’re moving in the right direction.

“It is a pretty young squad so that experience of having a successful season last year and hopefully getting some more confidence there can stand us in good stead for the season.”

A new left-back is still likely to join the club before the summer ends but Milner can expect to play a key role once again as part of Klopp’s preferred XI.

The number 7 is the Reds’ vice-captain, penalty taker and evidently impressed the German when filling in at fullback last campaign and I’d be surprised not to see him given more chances with the extra football this season should bring.

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