James Milner did an admirable job filling in as left-back for Liverpool. Now, however, the club is expected to bring in a real defender in this transfer window to take over primary duties in that position.
With so many more games to play thanks to the Champions League, Milner will likely still have opportunities to fill in. It looks as though he will continue to play at left-back against next season.
Retired former Liverpool left-back Alan Kennedy had some words of encouragement for Liverpool’s vice-captain, telling the official website, “I’ve not been surprised. He’s a great professional. He treats any position as his own. He likes to do what he can for the team, he’s very much a team player.
“But he’ll still be thinking he can do better next season, that’s what I love about him. He’s a great guy with a great attitude. James is number one and I can’t see that changing over the next six months unless he has injury problems.”
And about Liverpool’s rapidly approaching 2017-18 season, Kennedy is similarly optimistic, “I’d like Liverpool to adopt the policy – which they do – of just going forward and putting the other team under pressure all the time,” he added.
“They do it so, so well. I’m very pleased with the way they do it; it’s similar to what we did back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. [Klopp] doesn’t need to change too much. We had the injury to [Sadio] Mane at the end of the season. If he comes back the same player, that’s a big bonus.
“And for other players it was their first season with Liverpool. All in all, I think they’ve had a really, really good season. They’ll be more confident in the season coming and play the football we deserve.”
One of the most interesting questions of next season, for this writer anyway, is how much we’ll see Milner play. He proved himself flexible and willing to contribute to the team, and his calm penalties were hugely beneficial to the team. A huge upgrade at left-back is needed if Liverpool want to tighten up their defense and continue building on what they started this season.
Still, it would be a shame to lose the player’s steady presence within the team.