James Milner started for Liverpool against Leicester City and played brilliantly. It was a perfect Trent Alexander-Arnold impression.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury ruled him out of Liverpool v Leicester City. That’s a huge problem as the right-back is an enormous part of the Reds’ system.
He provides the width down the right, take set-pieces and his crossing creates the bulk of Liverpool’s chances. Alexander-Arnold sees a huge amount of the ball, too.
In his last 90 minutes, he had 142 touches v West Ham United. Only Jordan Henderson (150) had more.
And so with Alexander-Arnold missing, James Milner had to step up to the plate against Leicester. Could he fill the void?
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The answer was an overwhelming yes.
More of the same
Milner was brilliant against Leicester. He saw more of the ball than anyone (104 touches) and created more chances than anyone else on the pitch (five).
Sky Sports have him down as winning the ball back nine times, too – again, the most of anyone.
So the fact that Milner also registered an assist makes this the ideal ‘Alexander-Arnold’ performance. Heavily involved, plenty of width, recovering the ball, and creating chances.
This is now Milner’s 19th season starting in the Premier League – an incredible number. And this just goes to show how he’s reached that number.
Milner can do pretty much whatever job you ask of him. He can press in the middle, as well as play a possession game. He’ll cover all over midfield and at full-back, while he has a history in the forward positions, too.
But Sunday was particularly impressive. Liverpool asked him to cover for the best in the world in a certain position. A player who is more effective there than anyone else going forward – to record-breaking levels.
And yet Milner did it against a good side. Very few players on the planet could pull that off.
The 34-year-old is a very special player, though, and one Liverpool are lucky to have.