James Milner is getting so well at playing left-back, there’s not much left Jurgen Klopp’s got to teach him!
That’s because since the summer when Liverpool’s manager told his most experienced starter he’d be switching to fullback, Milner has taken to the position like a duck to water. In fact, in Premier League terms, he’s one of the best in the pond.
Not only has he bagged five penalties, but he’s combined an outrageous work-rate with clever offensive passing, whipped crosses and reliable defensive play. We’re not sure if there’s a top flight left-back we’d swap him for, actually.
At the beginning of the campaign, Klopp spent much time instructing Milner on his new role – both in matches and training – but now, the boss trusts Milner’s picked almost everything up.
“I think obviously when things are new you’re going to need a bit more guidance and I’ll be asking questions if I’m not sure on things. If you’re doing something wrong, they’ll tell you but if they’re happy with the way things are going then they’ll let you get on with it,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“Obviously there’s odd games where there are special instructions or things you might want to do a bit differently to normal, but other than that there hasn’t been too much so hopefully that means I’m not doing too much wrong!
“But you can always improve and obviously there’s instances in games where I need to check certain things I’ve thought of in the game, or something where I wasn’t sure.
“But I’ve been playing a long time and I think you’re always watching and learning from other players you’re playing with as well, and a lot of the principles are the same. Hopefully I can keep improving and keep contributing to the team.”
Signing Milner on a free transfer was an absolutely superb piece of business from Liverpool. More credit should be given to Brendan Rodgers and his previous transfer committee for the find, but it’s Klopp who’s got the best out of him.
He might be 30, but such is his professionalism and mind-boggling natural fitness, Milner’s got plenty more years left in him.
We’d love to see him collect some silverware under Klopp – who’ll hopefully tell him how well he’s done then!