Soon after the Merseyside club Liverpool played a 1-1 draw at the White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur, the manager, Jurgen Klopp, hinted that the club won’t be signing a left back this time around. The club is having some mid-life crisis regarding the spot, but a performance to remember by their versatile Englishman James Milner has let Jurgen Klopp to suggest that Liverpool will work fine even without signing a left back.
The manager, yet again, selected the former Manchester City midfielder James Milner for the left back spot and the player impressed the spectators with his solid performance, where he gave his side a well-deserved lead from the spot. Defender Alberto Moreno is currently living on a thin line as he is failing to prove his worth and after that shaky performance against Arsenal couple of weeks back, the Spaniard has now definitely lost his race to feature in the starting XI.
Milner, who has impressed the manager in the past couple games, will undoubtedly be the first choice player for the spot and to add more into the foray, the manager stated:
“We’re going to need more players for different positions,” Klopp said. “The only decision we made is that Milly can play it, especially in the kind of play we think we should play.
“Full-back is not only a winger in the offensive situations, it’s something like eight (roles) in different moments so that’s a really good position for Milly.
“He still has to adapt and learn because he’s not had 500 games in this position but we will work on it, like we work on every player.
“In the end we were convinced he could play the position and that’s why we didn’t make the transfer. I’m not surprised he can play there.”
Milner, who had a cagey start to his Liverpool career, was just a utility player for Manchester City, but thanks to the arrival of some new and upgraded names, his role was cut short and the Englishman made his move to the Merseyside club, Liverpool. He arrived at the club on a free transfer and just two months later, Milner was announced as the vice-captain of the team.
Milner, who is known for his versatility on the field, changed many roles after Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. With the players like Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho in line for the attacking roles, Milner never actually was a first choice for the manager for the spot and this is when the experimentation started.
With almost every full-back recovering from fitness, the manager decided to go with James for the right back slot. Milner played in five different positions for the German in 2015/16, including an appearance on either defensive flank. The 30-year-old played at the left spot in Liverpool’s second leg against Manchester United in the Europa League’s last 16, and speaking after the performance, the player said:
“It’s not a position I want to play, but the team comes first before any individuals and we got the result we needed which is all that matters.”
Time and time again, the Englishman has shone whenever he has been given the opportunity. While the Spaniard, Alberto Moreno, still learning to pull his socks up, the 30-year-old midfielder has served his experience at the highest level.
Rather than scoring goals, the Englishman is known for his playmaking skills and being a pure English blood, his rugged ability to challenge for the ball is eye-catching. Besides all of this, the 30-year-old rarely gets injured and his experience of the Premier League makes him an important asset for the team.
In Manuel Pellegrini’s words; James is a “polyfunctional” personnel, who loves to serve his club and never backs down. Well, it is safe to say that James Milner has never received the plaudits he thoroughly deserves. He is clearly defying his age by his breath-taking performances in recent games and yes, he is the perfect answer for Liverpool’s defensive issues in the left flank.