James Milner has given a lengthy interview on how he’s finding his new position at left-back.
Last season, the Englishman was deployed either in central midfield or out wide, and did pretty well all in all – contributing plenty of assists and putting in numerous impressive, selfless performances.
But this term Jurgen Klopp has decided to move Milner to left-back, demoting much criticised left-back Alberto Moreno to the bench.
Milner’s done pretty well so far, putting in his best performance in the new role last time out at White Hart Lane, but has admitted it’s still a learning process.
“It is different,” Milner told the ECHO.
“There are pluses and minuses to it.
“All my career being in the midfield or higher up than that you have got people behind you. You are working in pairs when you play further up but you are more of a unit when you are playing at left-back.
“You need to be aware of where your centre-backs are so you are not the deepest man, all these things.
“It’s new for me and I’m learning as fast as I can. Hopefully I can keep the mistakes to a minimum and do what I can for the team.
“I think I have adapted throughout my career to playing different positions and this one is different as well. Hopefully my experience and my time in football can help me.
“I am a Liverpool player and what the manager asks me to do I will do. Ultimately, if he thinks that is the best thing for the team then I will do it.
“I’ve played a lot on the left in my career and would rather play left-back than right-back so that does not affect me,” he added.
“It’s more learning the position from training and watching videos after the game, looking at distances from the centre-half, getting out to the wide man quickly, things like that.
“It is a bit irrelevant to speak to someone who has played there in the past as the way that this manager plays is very different to a left-back say five years ago.
“A lot of time in this team you are like a winger and on the front foot.
“So I could speak to other left backs but the way this manager wants his full-backs to play is completely different to how other managers want them to play.”
Ideally for us, Liverpool would purchase a natural left-back to compete with Moreno for a starting spot, but this doesn’t seem like Klopp’s plan.
Milner has the ability to play the position, as he’s got a terrific engine, a decent left-foot and is tactically astute, so we’re not especially worried by his inclusion.
In fairness, it’s maybe the best way to get him in the side, as with the likes of Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum signing, there’s not much left in midfield.