On more than one occasion throughout his managerial stint at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has praised the value of James Milner in his squad.
Apart from super-sub Divock Origi, Milner remains the only player to still be a key part of this revitalized Liverpool from Klopp’s first game in charge at the club, in a game against Spurs where Milner also wore the armband.
It was perhaps ex-City coach Manuel Pellegrini who perfectly summarized the veteran footballer’s role at Liverpool in an interview from 2015: “There are players who are better technically, yes. Quicker players, yes. Players who head better, yes. But show me one who does all the things Milner does well. There isn’t one.”
Fast forward to 2022, Milner has not changed one bit as he is often thrown into the mix by Klopp to control games and provide much-needed leadership when it is found lacking.
Against Chelsea on Sunday, it was a similar story as he came on in the closing stages on normal time and also stepped up to take Liverpool’s all-important first penalty to give them the psychological advantage in the shootout.
The Englishman also continues to display that he is about as professional as they come as he was spotted by fans celebrating with a simple single-hand first pump while the rest of the squad went ballistic chasing down goalkeeper Kelleher following Kepa’s miss.
If ever a picture summed up James Milner… pic.twitter.com/z1OqvZDpYA— Caoimhe O’Neill (@CaoimheSport) February 27, 2022
Whole team goes mental.— Anfield Edition (@AnfieldEdition) February 27, 2022
James Milner? 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/OXsic1Y1hc
The exact moment I realised I had left the iron on. pic.twitter.com/AYJCsvmVWz— Boring James Milner (@BoringMilner) February 28, 2022
Milner: "You kids go have fun…" pic.twitter.com/kh7zja9Tv6— LFC_Tonks (@LFC_Tonks) February 28, 2022
Milner’s quality of keeping emotion out of the equation has always been invaluable to Liverpool. During their Premier League success in 2019/20, Milner was key going into the last run of games as he kept a cool head and dispatched a few last-minute penalties to put a seal on the 3 points.
Following City’s recent slip-up, Liverpool have suddenly found themselves back in a title race just 6 points behind City with a game in hand and are also still in the running in both the FA Cup and the Champion’s League.
Undoubtedly, Milner’s short shifts would be crucial to Liverpool’s chances in these competitions as they gear up for the business end of the season.
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