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'Zaha-itis': James Milner teases teammate after Liverpool's 3-0 win

James Milner had a little dig at Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday. The full-back missed the game through illness.

There were a few surprises in Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool XI on Saturday against Crystal Palace. Most notably, he changed the entire back four.

We can’t remember the last time that happened across two major games but the Liverpool boss clearly backed his squad depth. And with good reason – the new quartet kept a clean sheet at Anfield.

The most surprising absentee, however, was Trent Alexander-Arnold. James Milner filled in at full-back after the Scouser was ruled out with illness. That’s something Milner couldn’t help but tease his teammate for after Liverpool sealed a 3-0 win.

Milner teases Alexander-Arnold after 3-0 win

“Trent’s definitely going to get some ribbing for that!” said Milner, per Liverpoolfc.com. “A bit of Zaha-itis or something like that!

“It was probably three, two-and-a-half hours before the game really. But that’s what we’re prepared for and the training is done so anyone is ready at any time. That’s my job when I’m needed.”

Milner’s poking fun at the idea of Alexander-Arnold not fancying a game up against Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, of course. The Ivorian is one of the most hard-to-handle wide players in the Premier League.

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Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Milner, though, had a fine game despite not being a recognised full-back.

No one was more involved than the 35-year-old, in fact. He managed a remarkable 117 touches – a figure no one else came close to. Next closest was Palace left-back Tyrick Mitchell with 84. The next highest Liverpool player was Virgil van Dijk with a comparatively uninvolved 73.

Defensively, though, Milner was stellar. He won four out of five tackles, picked up three interceptions, and kept Zaha relatively quiet.

So the next time Alexander-Arnold isn’t quite in a state to play, it’s safe to say Milner can fit in. Fortunately, the Zaha-itis wasn’t contagious.

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