Ever since Alberto Moreno’s uninspiring performance at the beginning of the season in the 4-3 win over Arsenal, James Milner has been in the dubious position of having to fill in at left-back. While at first it appeared to be a stop-gap solution until either Liverpool brought in a proper wide defender or Moreno sorted himself out, Milner ended up just taking that spot in the formation diagram on a more-or-less permanent basis.
It was an odd change for fans to acclimate to, and plenty of fans were led to wonder whether the club actually had plans to ever bring in a natural left-back as either competition or replacement for Moreno. And, in a recent interview, Milner himself said it wasn’t an easy transition.
“It’s a big change but I’ve always tried to learn throughout my career and I’ve played a lot of positions anyway, so it’s just trying to do the job as well as you can. But it’s about whatever is best for the team. Ultimately I just want to be out there playing games and contributing. I haven’t gone to [Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp]. He knows how I feel and asked me at the start of the season about my thoughts. I believe that once you’ve committed to something and made a decision you stick to it and do your best. There have been times I haven’t enjoyed it and have been frustrated, but I’m enjoying being part of this squad, we’ve got a lot of great players and I think we can be successful. I want to be a part of that.”
Which is fair. Given a choice between playing out of position or sitting on the bench, I think most footballers would rather just play. And Milner is at least being candid about the adjustment, even as he says he’s trying to make the best of it.