Jurgen Klopp should start James Milner in Monday’s crucial Premier League meeting with Everton.
That’s the view of Liverpool legend Phil Thompson. Speaking to Off The Ball on Friday, Thompson urged Klopp to start a midfield of Fabinho, Milner and Jordan Henderson.
“I know he [Fabinho] was ill last weekend, but if I was picking this team, I would go for him on Monday, I would go for Milner on Monday, I would go for Henderson on Monday,” said the 69-year-old.
“That’s leaving out Thiago, Bajcetic who’s done really well. But I think this needs experience, it needs strength, because Everton will go with Doucoure again, Gana Gueye, they’ll go with Onana. These are big strong lads. I think we need to match them. Here’s me saying we need to match them, that should not be the case.”
Milner moved from the middle
Even with Thiago looking likely to miss tomorrow’s all-Merseyside clash, you wouldn’t expect to see Milner in the midfield.
It must be said that the 37-year-old has began some of Liverpool’s biggest matches this season. Who can forget him starting at right-back against Manchester City back in October, or again vs Chelsea in January.
Both of those games were at right-back though, with Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling for fitness.
In fact, all five of Milner’s Premier League starts this season have come at full-back. Playing the £60k-a-week man in midfield just isn’t something Klopp tends to do anymore.
As a result, it would be a huge surprise to see Milner there tomorrow evening. With Trent fully fit, he won’t be at right-back either.
That doesn’t mean that what Thommo is saying here is wrong, mind you. Everton’s midfield does look exceptionally physical. Liverpool need to match that.
Given the fact that they’ve barely done that against any side all season, we’re not holding our breath that they will. Bearing in mind the form of Fabinho and Henderson as well, you can’t help but worry.
That worry will likely extend to the Liverpool manager, too. But no matter how concerned he is, we still wouldn’t expect to see Milner from the start tomorrow. That this is even still a semi-realistic proposal though illustrates the Reds problems this season.