James Milner put in a fine performance against Bournemouth on Saturday and demonstrated how much Liverpool need Jordan Henderson.
We felt Milner was Man of the Match against the Cherries. He came in for Andy Robertson at left-back and was the standout player. Milner even sealed the points with a wonderful goal-line clearance in the second half.
He led the team by example, effectively. Milner showed drive, commitment and professionalism – three things the team has lacked since Henderson’s injury.
That’s not to say that Liverpool don’t have any of that, of course. But Henderson adds it in spades, meaning his absence hurts the side’s mentality.
As the club’s vice-captain, Milner adds it, too. Although he can’t quite have the same impact, given he was playing at left-back. But he still managed to show the right attitudes as Liverpool fought back from a goal down.
It was the kind of performance Liverpool lacked in each of their previous two games. The Reds failed badly in the 3-0 defeat against Watford and again at Chelsea, where they lost 2-0.
They showed a distinct lack of fight and mental strength in both fixtures. That wasn’t the case against Bournemouth, however.
Now, you can’t put that entirely down to Milner but he was the finest exponent of the fight the team showed.
Again, that’s fight the team has somewhat lacked since Henderson’s injury. The captain has grown considerably since his £20m arrival to become the defining example of Liverpool’s mentality.
Milner, in showing the same mentality, showed how much Liverpool miss Henderson. Fingers crossed the captain can fight back to play against Atletico Madrid in midweek.