'I respect him so much': Coach now claims Liverpool have a 'special' player who's a real leader at Anfield
Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

'I respect him so much': Coach now claims Liverpool have a 'special' player who's a real leader at Anfield

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has waxed lyrical over the contribution of James Milner to Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

Reciting an extract from his new book for liverpoolfc.com, Lijnders claimed that in Milner, Liverpool have a ‘special’ player.

“What will really stay with me happened towards the end of the celebrations (when Liverpool won the FA Cup) when I saw Milner,” writes Pep.

“It was the best hug I ever had. I respect him so much, he is so special. Thank you for leading the team with commitment and example; I will be forever grateful that I met you as a player. You gave my understanding of professionalism a new dimension.”

Photo by Thor Wegner/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Big words from a coach who has worked with some of the very best players in the world.

Milner shows up in pre-season yet again

Lijnders’ words go some way to explaining exactly why Milner has found himself with another contract extension at Liverpool.

Klopp has spoken many times and at length about his vice-captain’s contribution over the last seven years. It’s obvious from reading the quotes here that the manager’s number 2 is very much on the same page.

The kind of contribution that Milner makes is often completely intangible. But the standards that he helps to set day after day at the AXA Training Centre can’t be compared.

Earlier this week, during The Reds’ pre-season training in Austria, the 36-year-old once again came out on top during the long-distance running drills.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

As seen on LFCTV’s Inside Training video, Milner absolutely breezes through a group containing Mohamed Salah to finish first. It’s almost taken as a given that the Yorkshireman is in peak shape at the beginning of every season, but it shouldn’t be.

For him to still be out there showing his younger teammates how it’s done is really something special.

It seems likely that this will be Milner’s last season as a Liverpool player. He already has countless magical memories to cherish such as the one described by Lijnders. Hopefully though, there’s still room for one or two more.

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