Liverpool’s James Milner has a pivotal role to play in tonight’s League Cup tie at MK Dons.
The 33-year-old is set to start with the captain’s armband and will be the most senior player in Liverpool red.
A true captain’s performance is needed from Milner, who must guide a youthful team featuring debutants, inexperienced youth prospects and players severely lacking match fitness through a tricky trip to Milton Keynes.
Liverpool are expected to hand several senior debuts tonight, with three academy prospects set to start this game.
Caoimhin Kelleher, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster are all expected to make the starting line-up.
Kai Jan Hoever (17) and Curtis Jones (18) are very young players. Despite having already played at senior level they are still vastly inexperienced.
All these players will need to be guided through some understandable nerves to ensure they peform to the best of their ability.
Liverpool’s midfield could be made up of players on the road to recovery from injury. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Naby Keita are elite level players but severely lacking match fitness right now.
As expected with lack of fitness or game time these players may not be as sharp as usual.
It will be the job of Milner to pick their heads up when things don’t quite work out; to push them past any tiredness they may be feeling and ultimately ensure we win this game.
A true captain’s performance is exactly what’s needed from the Liverpool player tonight.