Garth Crooks insists James Milner is currently edging out Eden Hazard as frontrunner for his Football of the Year.
The midfielder starred yet again as Liverpool extended their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 1-1 draw against Arsenal on Saturday.
Milner’s opener meant he maintained his 16-year record of having not lost a Premier League game in which he has scored – with that stretch now standing at 50 goals in 49 games.
Besides getting on the scoresheet, the 32-year-old led by example with his concentration and energy to help guide the Reds past a series of tough periods throughout the game.
Such was his impact that Milner earned a place in Crooks’ BBC Sport Team of the Week.
Describing the Englishman’s display, Crooks said: “James Milner has taken the early lead for my Footballer of the Year. I must say that Eden Hazard is a close second but the way Milner is leading Liverpool through some very tricky games is very impressive.”
“Against Arsenal the ball couldn’t have dropped in front of a more cool-headed but utterly ruthless professional.”
“Whatever happens between now and the end of the season I guarantee you Milner will be featuring in my TOTW on a few more occasions.”
The vice-captain’s composed finish at the weekend marked his 50th top-flight goal and further underlined arguably the best form of his career.
He has been instrumental throughout Jurgen Klopp’s time on Merseyside so far, offering himself as an all-purpose leader with a tone-setting professionalism and an undying attentiveness to his manager’s desired work ethic.
Not only is he an important figure for the team at present, but he also promises to be key in aiding the likes of Fabinho and Naby Keita as they strive to adjust to the English game and make their mark just as he has.