Sanjay Nair explains why James Milner will be vital for Jürgen Klopp in the next few weeks as crunch clash after clash await Liverpool.
James Milner… a man with many talents, possessing the heart of a lion and a sense of discipline that is not easily matched by many in the current crop of players across the Premier League.
Relentless in his attitude to the game, fearless in his approach and without a doubt tireless in the amount of work put in day-in and day-out, the former Manchester City midfielder has been the cornerstone of Liverpool’s perfect start to the season.
Closing in on 500 Premier League appearances, Milner often seems like a new signing with every passing season. It is important for every player to receive consistent playing time and Milner, in particular, has gradually benefitted from turning into one of the first players on the team-sheet.
For a player who initially played mostly at left-back, this upturn in his stock at the heart of Liverpool’s midfield can be largely attributed to his versatility which he has made full use of.
Over and above everything, Milner is such a natural leader that regular club captain Jordan Henderson’s lack of presence in the midfield has left no visible impact on the team. He has been an absolute powerhouse as stand-in captain, driving Liverpool forward whilst also ensuring we remain compact in the middle of the park at all times.
A successful penalty conversion, to break down the resistance of a stubborn Crystal Palace, would also have restored him as Liverpool’s preferred choice in that department.
Although it is still early days, Milner’s contributions so far have been invaluable and there is no doubting he will be a key figure in the glut of crunch matches to be played in coming weeks.
There is absolutely no time or space to breathe if you are a part of Liverpool Football Club, what with the likes of Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea (twice), Napoli and Manchester City all preparing themselves to do battle with the Reds in the space of a few weeks.
But if there is one man for the job, one man to egg the team on through this crucial period that will reaffirm Liverpool’s current ascendancy, one can be sure the no-nonsense, workmanlike James Milner will be that man.