As Liverpool‘s first day of pre-season training started, there was a lot of excitement about the new players that had joined us over the summer.
Naby Keita‘s deal was done a season back but seeing him in the flesh was fantastic and then the signing out of the blue, Fabinho was also present at Melwood as Jurgen Klopp decided to run the players through some drills.
Keita is expected to be our midfield dynamo next season but he failed in one major test – he could not outpace and defeat our stallion in midfield, James Milner.
The Daily Mail reports that Milner won the lactate challenge on the first day of training. This is coming from a 32-year-old over some players who are almost a decade younger than him.
Milner beat the likes of Adam Lallana, Keita, Fabinho and Danny Ings; the man is a machine and he will be extremely important for us next season.
A professional who will do anything for the cause
A couple of years ago, Alberto Moreno was having a crisis as the left-back and up stepped Milner to take over the spot. He had not played much in that role and is a right-footer but he adjusted to the position and did extremely well.
Milner did not have the pace to track the pacey wingers but he knew how to deal with it all. The same thing was in view when Milner was played in the midfield, and has even stepped up out on the wings during his time at Newcastle and Manchester City.
Many of us questioned the logic of signing the former City man on a free transfer but if there is one player who can be seen as a role model by the youngsters, it is Milner.
You barely hear anything from him on social media. There is no controversy and the 32-year-old just gets on with his job.
With no Steven Gerrard in the side, we needed someone to be the old head and Milner is the man. He has a number of medals to show to the Liverpool players too.
An important player for the season
While we can talk about Keita making our midfield one of the best in England or the possibility of us signing a world-class attacker, it is Milner who will have a huge role to play for us this season.
Milner will possibly fill the hole left by Emre Can in the heart of the midfield. Last season, we did struggle when the German was out injured and with Jordan Henderson taking part in the World Cup, Milner will also be the senior professional in the pre-season, telling Keita what has to be done.
The 32-year-old will not be a first-team starter unless someone gets injured or is in horrible form, and that is a possibility he would know about.
This isn’t to say that Milner would be happy to just sit and take a place on the bench. Jurgen Klopp does make some tough decisions and the same can apply to anyone in the side.
The energy, doggedness and calm that Milner provides to the team is immense and he will be used in a lot of cup games. But we have to prepare for the future and the inevitability that the 32-year-old will not be playing a lot of football in the coming years.
However, he still has a lot of running in him, as seen in pre-season and if we can tap that well, Milner can be part of the Liverpool setup under Klopp for a number of years.
If not as a player, he must surley take up a role in management, just like Gerrard has done.
The best outcome for Milner would be to pick up a medal during his time at Liverpool. We have been lacking trophies in recent years and with a few more additions, we really can challenge for laurels and pick up a trophy or two.
And if anyone can keep the team grounded and prepare them for more trophies and success, it has to be Milner.
Liverpool create history: Five talking points from emphatic 3-0 win over Southampton
Liverpool looked comfortable in their 3-0 win over Southampton as we scored all our goals in the first half.
Xherdan Shaqiri was instrumental in two of our goals as Wesley Hoedt opened the scoring by slotting into his own net.
Joel Matip made it two from a corner before Shaqiri’s free-kick was tapped in by Mohamed Salah after it came off the post.
The win made it six out of six in the Premier League and kept up our relentless pace at the top of the table.
Our next game is the Carabao Cup clash against Chelsea and here are the five talking points from the win at Anfield.
1) Back the Shaq
The Swiss star got his first start for the Reds and he was brilliant. The former Stoke City attacker was all over Southampton like a bad rash and his shot in the first half was deflected into the net by Hoedt.
The 26-year-old played an advanced role just behind the front three and his movement was key to unlocking the Saints’ defence a number of times.
Shaqiri will have more difficult games in the future but the Swiss attacker will be an important player for us this season, especially when we are up against some teams that sit back and defend deep.
2) Liverpool don’t get out of second gear
Although the first half was great from the Reds, we didn’t really rip Southampton to shreds as we have done to some of the lower-ranked sides.
Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino had chances to score more goals and make it look like a tennis score but this Liverpool side is still not as fluid as last season’s.
The recent game against PSG certainly had a role to play in our sluggishness. Our game management was great though, as the Saints didn’t trouble us and the best of the Reds is yet to come this season.
3) History made once again
Liverpool made more history after this win as we recorded our best-ever start to a season. Seven wins in seven games is no laughing matter and we have faced some tough teams such as PSG and Tottenham.
The Reds have looked brilliant this season and we all want that one thing missing in our trophy cabinet and hopefully, we will have another historic moment to speak about at the end of the season.
4) Van Dijk and Gomez are stars
Our attack is one of the best in the world but our defence is also slowly getting there. It was a surprise seeing Joel Matip start as he could have done with the minutes in midweek against Chelsea.
Van Dijk was great though and he kept things tight at the back before being replaced by Gomez.
Changing a defensive pairing with a young player after half-time would have been a concern for us a few years ago.
However, Gomez isn’t any young player and the Englishman was rock-solid after coming on. The youngster didn’t make a single mistake in the game and has only gotten better this season.
5) Another clean sheet for Liverpool
Liverpool started the season with three clean sheets and made it a fourth of the season after conceding goals in their last three clashes.
The defence wasn’t tested and Alisson made his first save of the game only in stoppage time.
This makes it seven clean sheets in a row at Anfield, which is an incredible feat, given that we weren’t the tightest defence a couple of years ago.
“Legend”, “Never leave” – Some Liverpool fans want star to extend stay after brilliant start
James Milner is playing like a 20-year-old this season and that has helped us to an incredible start.
Liverpool are perfect and even recorded a fantastic 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. The recent win against Southampton helped the Reds record 7 successive wins. But amidst it all, Milner has been a solid force.
The Englishman scored a penalty against PSG and has two goals and two assists to his name this season. The 32-year-old has been one of our best players and his form has kept out the likes of Fabinho and even Jordan Henderson at times.
The former Manchester City and Leeds United man is a thorough professional and he recently tweeted an image before the Reds’ game against the Saints.
A number of fans showed their support to the Englishman and a few even wanted Liverpool to present him a new contract.
New contract mate pic.twitter.com/O3cb4hqNJb
— Foxy🇸🇳🇧🇷🇪🇬🇬🇳 (@foxylfc974) September 21, 2018
We love you Hamez pic.twitter.com/LQgYRkSC2t
— Niraj (@Niraj_G10) September 21, 2018
— Iz 🌚 (@lfcisabelle) September 21, 2018
Best in the league
— Mack (@Virgil4i) September 21, 2018
— Jonesy (@Jonesy_1026) September 21, 2018
— Anika (@AbedinOfficial) September 21, 2018
Sign a 1 year contract extension
— Effy (@EfrainJD18) September 21, 2018
New contract @LFC !!
— Samiaji SatrioWibowo (@satrio_wibowo11) September 22, 2018
Plz .. don’t go,, new contract James!!
— Ohgnueskrap (@Psheinstein) September 22, 2018
Every team needs a milner, so reliable no messing just 110% every time. Pity we didnt sign him years ago
— Wayne Gahan (@GahanWayne) September 21, 2018
Pen to paper mr Milner! 📝
— Thomas Helgeland (@THelgelandLFC) September 21, 2018
— Klopp on (@Kopitekav) September 21, 2018
Man of the Match, every match.
— Daisy Mom (@DaisyPugMommy) September 21, 2018
“Imperious performance”, “Already a better career than Charlie Adam” – Some Liverpool fans go crazy after brilliant first-half by summer signing
The former Stoke attacker was given a free role in the midfield and he got us going with a hand in two goals. The Swiss star only got 45 minutes on the pitch before he was replaced by James Milner but he looked fantastic.
Apart from pressurizing the opposition into losing the ball, the attacker’s passing was spot on as well. The 26-year-old’s shot in the first half was turned into the net by Wesley Hoedt. He then came up with a wonderful free-kick that cannoned off the crossbar for Mohamed Salah to tap in.
The 26-year-old should receive more starts and some fans loved his performance, even though he didn’t get a goal.
Shaqiri has already had a better Liverpool career than Charlie Adam
— Dan McLaughlin (@Dan23_92) September 22, 2018
If anyone had any doubts about what Shaqiri gives us, that first half answered all of them
— 🔴 Two Red Gringos LFC 🎙 (@TwoRedGringos) September 22, 2018
— Hippokloppamus (@Hippokloppamus) September 22, 2018
Remember Charlie Adam said Shaqiri was lazy? To be honest one look at his grid & anyone would need a fucking lie down. #LIVSOU
— Freddy krueger’s nan (@krueger_nan) September 22, 2018
Shaqiri is something else
— Alain🕊#COYKIRK (@Alan33i) September 22, 2018
Shaqiri starting against Chelsea midweek confirmed
— FF (@Fekir17_) September 22, 2018
WE,VE GOT SHAQIRI, XHERDAN SHAQIRI, I JUS DONT THINK U UNDERTSAND, HE ONLY COST 13 MIL HES BETTER THAN NABIL, WE’VE GOT XHERDAN SHAQIRIIII💉💉
— MS11 (@MoSxlah_) September 22, 2018
Just want to hug one of Shaqiri’s calves right now.
— Devesh🇷🇸 (@Naby_SZN) September 22, 2018
Shaqiri as back up to the front 3 is a big upgrade on Lallana.
— David Martinez (@DMARTINEZ_85) September 22, 2018
Don’t expect to see Fekir anytime soon, Shaqiri is the man for the job.
— Jez 🤙🏻 (@jez_the_red) September 22, 2018
Xherdan Shaqiri, for £13-million, with those massive calves, that do all these magical things on a football pitch.
Our Xherdan Shaqiri.
— Ben Webb (@BenWebbLFC) September 22, 2018
Shaqiri’s free kick .. pic.twitter.com/B8uWJdAdM9
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) September 22, 2018
Shaqiri and Salah had clearly planned that. The absolute mad bastards.
— Paul (@Kolology) September 22, 2018
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