James Milner has an important role to play when Liverpool travel to FC Porto for their Champions League quarter-final second leg.
The Reds hold onto a 2-0 lead going into the game, an advantage you wouldn’t expect them to give up.
Jurgen Klopp is yet to taste defeat as Liverpool boss in a two-legged European tie. He kept that record last season thanks to his team’s ability to see out first-leg leads and so the experience to see out tonight’s game will be key.
Jordan Henderson played against Porto last week and started again at the weekend. He went off injured against Chelsea and given his injury record, it would be surprising to see him on Wednesday.
But then Naby Keita & Fabinho have played three games in a row – Fabinho finishing the 90 in all of them. Both will be tired and likely in need of resting. There’s a game against Cardiff City at the weekend, after all.
This will not be Liverpool’s first-choice midfield, despite it being a game where that midfield will manage the game. Porto are the team needing the goals and will surely attack. Liverpool’s game will be about denying them space and their own way; the midfield needs to be dogged and disciplined, not expressive and creative.
Milner consistently delivers in the Champions League and his role against Porto will be key once again. Someone needs to keep things organised in midfield and to deliver a professional job.
No one is better suited to doing just that than Liverpool’s vice-captain.