James Milner was spotted mimicking the run-up for Mohamed Salah’s penalty for Liverpool against Manchester City on Saturday.
As seen on the Emirates FA Cup Twitter post, Milner matched Salah’s run-up stride for stride at the King Power Stadium.
Just as the ball hit the back of the net, Milner timed his run to be arriving into the penalty box. Had Ederson pushed the Liverpool man’s spot-kick away, Milner would have been first on the scene for the rebound.
Great thinking by the 36-year-old. Milner may not be Liverpool’s penalty-taker in chief anymore, but he clearly still very much likes to be involved in their execution.
Liverpool hunting for marginal gains yet again
This little clip is James Milner in a microcosm. He was relieved of his penalty taking duties due to Salah’s insatiable appetite for goals a couple of years ago. As a result, he could have washed his hands of any involvement in the process.
Instead, the vice-captain is still looking for little ways to get ahead of the opposition.
Perhaps the ball wouldn’t have come his way had Ederson saved it. Perhaps he may even have overshot his run beyond the ball. But the meticulous way in which he copied the run-up indicate that this is straight from the training ground.
It must have been a difficult sell to convince Salah to deliberately miss a penalty in training. But if his missing can lead to another chance for him in the follow-up maybe he could get on-board with it.
The routine will be something for fans to keep an eye on as the season progresses. As Milner is off the pitch more regularly than he is on it, maybe a different player will take on the role next time.
As Liverpool search for marginal gains all over the pitch, this could be yet another one to add to the playbook.
Such is Salah’s proficiency from 12 yards, a plan B isn’t usually needed. But it says everything about Milner, and Liverpool, that it’s there just in case.