James Milner has welcomed a move back into a more familiar role after spending much of last season as Liverpool’s make-shift left-back.
Saturday’s 3-1 friendly win over Athletic Bilbao in Dublin saw the vice-captain finally used in his preferred midfield role again thanks to the presence of new full-back Andrew Robertson.
The arrival of the Scotland international in addition to Alberto Moreno’s impressive pre-season appears to have reduced the chances of Milner once again being used as part of Liverpool’s back four on a full-time basis.
“It’s not that easy [to move back into midfield], but obviously I’ve played there for most of my career,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It felt nice to be back in there to be honest and I enjoyed it a lot. But it was more about getting 45 minutes; I’ve obviously had an injury as well, so it was nice to get out there and I felt alright.”
Milner was labelled as a ‘new midfield player’ by Jurgen Klopp following Liverpool’s final pre-season game, thereby introducing the prospect of he club shelving a focus towards finding an alternative for RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita.
It remains to be seen whether Klopp will in fact pursue another midfielder after seeing two bids rejected for the Guinean and subsequently ending interest in the player for the time being.
Klopp’s use of Milner next season could depend on the future of Moreno, in terms of whether or not he will be kept as a backup to Robertson.
Given Robertson’s fairly limited playing time since his arrival from Hull, though, there also remains a chance that Milner will start Liverpool’s opening game of the season against Watford at left-back.