James Milner has revealed his running figures were even higher than normal during last Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Manchester City.
The midfielder produced a typically unrelenting display to help assert Liverpool’s superiority in a frenetic first-half before assisting in shutting out the likely Premier League champions following the interval.
It marked the latest in a string of standout performances from the vice-captain, who has flourished in both the absence and lapses in form of fellow Reds midfielders of late.
“My running numbers are pretty consistent throughout the year, we get them regularly but I think it was slightly higher the other night (against City),” he told reporters, as cited by the Independent.
“That is part of the midfield job and it’s been part of my game being able to cover ground and it is something that’s needed in this team.”
“We are always pressing and you can’t leave your mate to press on his own, you have to press in numbers and if one person doesn’t do their job or get on the front foot and cover the ground and close the gap then the team gets out and you are under pressure. Everyone puts a shift in and it’s very easy to see when someone isn’t doing it – and it doesn’t happen very often.”
Milner starred alongside captain Jordan Henderson in cutting off the central supply line that so often serves the root to success for Pep Guardiola’s men.
He retained his place in the side for Saturday’s lacklustre Merseyside derby, offering more attacking impetus in support of Liverpool’s new-look frontline of Dominic Solanke, Danny Ings and Sadio Mane.
With Henderson suspended for Tuesday’s second-leg against City and Emre Can’s fitness still in doubt, Milner looks set to be relied upon as an experienced figurehead in high-stakes circumstances.
His notorious work ethic promises to be key again as City seek to turnaround a three-goal deficit with arguably little to lose.
It would come as no surprise were those widely-praised running stats to rise further.