Midfielder James Milner has an injury. Besides blowing a big hole in the theory that he is, in fact, a machine, this has forced Jurgen Klopp into a bit of rotation. Expected with the Festive Fixture Crunch, there was still hope among the Liverpool faithful that seeing a team sheet without the midfield stalwart against Newcastle would mean that we would see him against Arsenal on the weekend.
Sadly, it appears Milner has lost his fitness race. Sustaining a hamstring injury that appears to have come out of the match against Wolverhampton, Liverpool will have to turn elsewhere for a bit of midfield stability on Saturday.
Thankfully, the recent performances of Fabinho and the presence of experienced LFC midfielders like Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum should be more than enough to weather this minor blip in midfield. Couple that with the improvement of Naby Keita and the stunning form go Xherdan Shaqiri, and it would appear that Liverpool’s midfield should be relatively safe over the next few matches.
An added lift is that Klopp’s own words surrounding Milner’s injury seem very optimistic. Speaking to the press, the Gaffer had this to say:
“Millie is Millie and that means he is again ahead of schedule. He had, yes, a little bit with the [hamstring] muscle. He will not be available for tomorrow, that’s not possible, but hopefully the game after that he will be available again.”
There is more positive news on the injury front, though. It looks as though Alberto Moreno has recovered from a slight back injury that saw him out of contention for the Newcastle fixture but should see him available tomorrow for Arsenal. Though Andrew Robertson - and the entire squad, really - but together a rather thorough performance against Newcastle, the young left back’s run out against Wolves previous to that did leave this scribe with a touch of concern over his overuse. Seeing Alby line up against Arsenal would allay a few of my fears as well as ensure that Robertson would be available - and healthy! - for the big tilt against Manchester City.
One more sleep till Arsenal. One match closer to City. Up the Reds!