James Milner put on a show against Watford on Saturday as Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners. The 35-year-old stepped up when the Reds needed it.
Liverpool went into the game against Watford with serious midfield issues. Fabinho was out as Brazil played so late, while Thiago, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott all had injuries.
The real problem there is that the latter three are Liverpool’s progressive midfielders. They’re the ones Jurgen Klopp turns to in order to get the ball forward. They’re the ones who give Liverpool control over the game.
Klopp called on James Milner and Naby Keita in their stead. It’s safe to say they stepped up.
Milner vs Watford
Milner was an absolute force against Watford today. The 35-year-old stepped into a box-to-box midfield role, having played at right-back over the last few games.
But he didn’t miss a beat. In fact, Milner played the part of attacking midfielder to perfection, creating four chances in the game. That was a match-high and it earned him an assist for Liverpool’s second goal.
Milner received the ball between the lines from Roberto Firmino and played it left to Sadio Mane. He continued his run, though, overlapping Mane to receive the ball again.
A cut-back to the waiting Brazilian made it 2-0 for Liverpool and earned Milner his assist. That makes it 18 consecutive Premier League seasons with an assist – a remarkable stat.
The veteran was heavily involved throughout, too. Only Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk & Joel Matip touched the ball more. Milner didn’t play the final eight minutes, either.
And defensively, Milner put a real shift in. He was the only midfielder to make an interception and won three tackles – only Keita topped that.
Milner delivered exactly what Liverpool needed, then. With several midfield stars missing, this was an all-action display that ticked every box. Doing that at 35 is simply remarkable – Milner is an absolute gem that the Reds are lucky to have.