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James Milner thrived v Bournemouth but surely can't start next week

James Milner put in a Man of the Match performance as Liverpool beat Bournemouth on Saturday. He surely can’t follow it up by playing against Atletico Madrid, though.

Some fans had wanted to see Milner return to the lineup for Saturday and they got their wish. It proved a great shout, too, as he put in a Man of the Match display at Anfield.

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We had him down as the best player on the pitch, the highlight being his points-saving goal-line clearance in the second half. With the score at 2-1, Milner effectively consigned Bournemouth to defeat with that action.

It was wonderful to see and despite being out of the lineup in recent months, it’s fantastic that Milner can step back in with a performance like that.

Andy Robertson will surely return to left-back against Atletico Madrid next week, meaning Milner won’t play there. But he does become a late option in midfield, where no one has really shone in recent weeks.

Despite the great performance, though, it’s surely too much to ask him for an all-action midfield showing next week. There’s under a week between the games, for one thing, and he can’t possibly be fully match-fit.

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At 34, it seems too much to ask. It’ll be a very intense game, after all.

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But it does highlight just how good an option Milner, who reportedly earns £140k-a-week (per Sportrac), can be from the bench. He can asset leadership and professionalism as a second-half sub – be it when Liverpool are defending a lead or needing to keep their heads in search of a goal.

A 30-year-old Milner with regular football this season would almost certainly start. Instead, he becomes one of Liverpool’s biggest threats from the bench.

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