Liverpool is one of the best teams in the world right now. Everybody will agree to that statement. What made them what they are today? Some excellent pieces of business, done by them in the transfer market. The money paid for Alisson and Van Dijk was huge, but still, it laid the foundation for what they are today. Out of all the brilliant transfers, Liverpool has pulled, there is one transfer that goes under the radar for some reason. It’s none other than the free transfer of James Philip Milner from Manchester City.
It was on June the 4th, James Milner decided to sign for Liverpool, leaving behind a trophy-laden and a high paying legacy at Manchester City. Liverpool was in pretty bad shape back then as they had lost the last game of the previous season 6-1 to Stoke City. It happened to be the farewell of Steven Gerrard as well. Not the best way to bid farewell to your legend, is it?
So Liverpool was in desperate need of some character and experience. James Milner had both. A Brenden Rodgers masterstroke that benefitted Jurgen Klopp even more.
Let’s fast forward to five years. James Milner is a Champions League winner, a UEFA Super Cup winner, a Club World Cup winner, and soon will add another Premier League winners medal to his tally. The man has adapted and worked hard to fit into Klopp’s gegenpressing style of football and is showing no signs of stopping at 34. A perfect role model for all those out there.
Jurgen Klopp has built a strong squad at Liverpool. He did allow some old folks to leave and brought in “more-than-adequate” replacements. He never showed the door to James Milner, and he even extended his contract recently. The guy is adaptable, professional, and has a model attitude. The former Leeds academy graduate is Klopp’s “go-to-guy” in a situation of crisis. He slotted in at left-back when Alberto Moreno was struggling and did a great job. He has played right-back, in the midfield, and even on the wings. In case, if Adrian and Alisson are out injured, we think Klopp will turn to James Milner without any hesitation to slot into the goalkeeping position.
We talked a lot about his professionalism and adaptability of the Englishman. We must never forget the fact that he is one of the fittest players in the current Liverpool squad. The guy has the body of someone in their middle 20s and is getting even better. Some things get better with age, so does James Milner. He fit enough to play the high-intensity, high-pressing, all-action style of Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool is on course to break a lot of Premier League records this time around, and James Milner has had his part in that. He made 33 appearances in total, 19 in the premier league, while scoring two and assisting two. The man is Klopp’s faithful when it comes to taking penalties. He does it “as calm as you like”! Even at 34, Klopp considers James Milner as a crucial part of his puzzle at Anfield.
So there will come a time when James Milner will call his time at Anfield, and play for his boyhood club Leeds before hanging up his boots. We are not writing off the possibility of him retiring at Anfield, but in either case, he will fondly be remembered as a Liverpool legend. The guy who gave them confidence when they needed it the most. The guy who slotted in wherever his manager asked him to. A perfect role model for the younger generation out there. The “boring” guy, who made fun of the entire world through his social media accounts. A superstar, an underrated legend!