As far as acquired monikers go, “boring” is not the kind of tag you’d want to be associated with. For James Milner, however, the word brings on a whole new meaning as it roughly translates to consistency when one follows his games. For Milner, being “boring” is a part of his persona now but it only means that he is extremely dependable in times of crisis.
This summer transfer window, perhaps the one position that supporters were keen on signing a player was that of a competent left-back. After an abysmal result in the Europa League final against Sevilla, the person who came under the most amount of critical scrutiny was Alberto Moreno. His performance in the second half of the game left a lot to be desired. Liverpool legends and fans around the world waited for manager Jurgen Klopp to sign a replacement or even someone who would create competition for Moreno. That, however, was not to be. Brad Smith was sold and speculations surrounding the possible signings of Jonas Hector, Ben Chilwell, and Ricardo Rodriguez came to nothing. Surely, in such circumstances, Moreno’s place as a second rate left back was all but cemented in the team. But Klopp, it seems, was being smart with the economic spending in the transfer window.
In the pre-season friendly against Chelsea, Milner came off the bench to replace Connor Randall in this position. For once, Milner portrayed exactly why he was one of the best utility players in the Premier League at present. With good ball control and an ability to create substantial openings, his versatility at playing right-back shows him to be a viable choice this season.
With signings like Sadio Mane, Milner’s place as an attacking midfielder seems unlikely. The 30-year old vice-captain might be employed as a fullback instead. Considering that he has all the qualities of a good, competent fullback, this role might suit him perfectly.
He is rarely injured, his physical fitness is at its peak always, he has the ability to perform well on both the left and the right positions and who can ignore his fantastic right-footed crosses. If there is anything that is holding him back from being held in higher regard, it probably is his lack of speed and his hesitation when it comes to taking well-calculated risks. That is also probably why he is termed as “boring” and predictable.
Taking a look at the larger picture here, James Milner is certainly a workhorse and quite tireless when it comes to playing. With a passing accuracy of over 81% in Europe and figures of seven goals and 14 assists last season coupled with an unwavering defensive contribution, he certainly proves himself to be a player worth retaining and cherishing. Along with all this, the fact that he came for free just makes the whole deal a lot better.
So far, he has one goal in three appearances for Liverpool this season in the Premier League. He filled in for the role of the left-back in all of them and notched up figures of one goal and two assists from his games.
There is something extremely telling about the fact that he has been hard to replace in every club he has left. That surely must account for something. For a boy who was once the youngest scorer in the Premier League (for Leeds United), it is certainly sad that Milner has slipped under the radar over time as he has emerged as a not so glamorous English footballer. It is his relentless determination and professionalism that must be commended. He still has a lot to give at Liverpool. Taking into account that he no longer has international football to distract him, perhaps it is time to make complete use of his potential at the club.
“Ended his career”- Some Liverpool fans react to this star dominating Man Utd ace
Twitter reacts to Roberto Firmino turning Wan Bissaka inside out
Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino is no stranger to the highlight reels. The Brazilian has had conjured numerous moments of magic in a Red shirt that have been part of countless highlight reels.
Early in the second half of the match against Manchester United, the Liverpool striker turned United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissake inside out ending with the defender landing flat on the Anfield turf.
Picking up the ball on the left, Firmino ran at Wan-Bissaka and cut across the defender numerous times completely flatfooted him.
Wan Bissaka is considered by some to be the best defensive right-back in the league and has also been compared by United fans to Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Reds faithful would have enjoyed Firmino showing the world that the United defender still has some ways to go before being compared to Liverpool’s wonderkid.
The move coincided with a sustained period of dominance where Liverpool had 7 chances in the opening 9 minutes of the second half.
Virgil van Dijk gave Liverpool the lead in the first half with a towering header from a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner. Firmino looked to have doubled the Red’s lead only for the goal to be controversially ruled out for a Van Dijk foul on David de Gea.
Giorginio Wijnaldum had the ball in the back of the net after a fine passing move,but the goal was once again ruled out for offside.
Twitter reacts to Firmino’s skill against Wan-Bissaka
More Liverpool News
Loan watch: Find out how the young Liverpool starlets are faring
Loan Watch: Find out how the Liverpool loanees fared this week
With the first-team squad setting higher standards with every match, some of Liverpool ‘s promising talents have had to go out on loan to get more playtime to further their development.
We take a look at how these players fared this week
Rhian Brewster (Swansea City)
It was a home debut to remember for Rhian Brewster as the youngster scored his first senior goal in Swansea City’s 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic. (h/t Sky Sports)
Nathan Byrne had given Wigan lead, only for Brewster to bring the Swans level with a clinical finish at the 19th-minute mark.
Swansea ended up winning the game 2-1 courtesy of an Andrew Ayew goal in the second half. It has been a promising start for Brewster at the Liberty Stadium and is hopefully just the start of bigger things to come.
The Swans are currently 6th in the Championship table and look set to at least make the playoffs for Premier League promotion.
Sheyi Ojo (Rangers)
The 22-year-old winger came on as a second-half substitute as Rangers defeated Stranraer 2-0 in the Scottish Cup at Ibrox. The youngster played the last quarter of the game as Steven Gerrard’s side go through to the 5th round where they will face Hamilton Academical.
Ojo has made 22 appearances for Rangers this season and has scored 2 goals. (h/t Whoscored)
Harry Wilson ( Bournemouth)
It was a frustrating night for the Welsh winger as he was sacrificed for Simon Wallis in the 34th minute. The substitution was the consequence of a tactical reshuffle effected by the sending off of Steve Cook.
The night got worse for The Cherries as they lost 1-0 and now find themselves in very real danger of being relegated. Wilson has played 22 times for Bournemouth this season and has scored 6 goals.
Herbie Kane (Hull City)
It was a bad day at the office for Herbie Kane as the midfielder played the full 90 minutes in the Tigers’ 1-0 loss to Derby County.
The defeat leaves Hull 6 points off a playoff berth.
Kamil Grabara (Huddersfield Town)
Grabara played the full 90 minutes as he kept a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw against Brentford. Huddersfield could have really done with a win and are looking at the prospect of back to back relegations if their form does not pick up soon.
Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin)
Grujic played the full 90 minutes in a 4-0 mauling against Bayern Munich at home. Hertha Berlin were outplayed as the German champions ran riot at the Olympiastadion Berlin.
Grujic has impressed at his loan spell and is likely to be recalled in the summer. Hertha are currently 14th in the Bundesliga table, just 2 points away from the relegation playoffs.
More Liverpool News
Loris Karius (Besiktas)
Loris Karius also faced defeat as Besiktas were beaten 2-1 by League leaders Sivasspor in the Turkish Sper Lig. The defeat leaves Besiktas in 7th,10 points off their opponents at the top.
The goalkeeper looked certain to sign for Besiktas in the summer. With Besiktas unable to secure funds for his signature. It is likely that he will now return to Liverpool at the end of the season. (h/t Mirror)
Liverpool star aiming for quick return from injury
Injured winger Xherdan Shaqiri hopes to return to action soon
Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri is aiming for a quick return to action after missing the victory over Manchester United due to injury. (h/t Liverpoolfc)
Injuries have severely limited the Swiss winger to just 9 appearances this season. The latest being a knock that kept him out of the clash against Manchester United. Shaqiri has fine memories of the fixture, having come off the bench to score a brace in the corresponding fixture last season.
The player refused to explicitly state a return date but hopes to be back as quickly as possible.
Shaqiri has expressed his frustration at his persistent injuries. He hopes to put his troubles behind him as the Reds compete for the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup.
Preparing for an Audition?
Shaqiri has found himself reduced to a marginal role even when fit, making some sections question his future at the club.
The player had been linked with a move to Italian giants Roma and AC Milan in the January transfer window. The move seems unlikely after Klopp stated that no first-team players will leave the club in January.
With games coming thick and fast, Klopp needs all the players at his disposal as Liverpool chase domestic and European glory. Shaqiri will hope to play a key role in the club’s success further increasing his stock in the transfer market.
If the Swiss international is to move on next season, he will find no shortage of suitors if he makes a name for himself this season.
More Liverpool News
Shaqiri joined Liverpool from Stoke City in 2018. He went on to score a number of important goals as the Reds set a club record points total in the League and also won the UEFA Champions League.