We’re probably watching the best start Liverpool have had to a campaign in a long time. Three clean sheets, Anfield a fortress once more, and oh yeah we’re at the top of the Premier League at the moment. It’s really exciting, after beating two teams that in any other time might’ve cost us points but no, we’ve come away with the most points and not a single goal conceded. It feels really good, and we’re only getting started.
That being said, performances against Crystal Palace and Brighton weren’t even nearly our best, and James Milner is here to temper those expectations, just a little bit.
“It’s never a bad place to be – but they’re early days and we just want to keep going and keep improving,” the midfielder said on Sunday.
“We know from the first three games it’s a pleasing start but there’s a lot to improve on. That’s the good thing and there’s stuff we’ll be working on to become a better team.”
While there’s only game between now and the first international break since the World Cup, that’s plenty of time to further gel as a team. Difficult victories like Brighton on Saturday, though, are akin to fighting battle together and all the better for the team to learn to work together. Milner, of course, knew they were going to be easy after they handily beat Manchester United the week before.
“They’re a good team, they showed that last week,” Milner continued. “They were going to be full of confidence coming here, they weren’t easy to break down; they’re strong, organised and have good players going forward as well.
“It was never going to be easy but obviously another clean sheet for us is pleasing. We know we can play better but sometimes you have to just grind out the result and look at what we can do better after the game and try to improve.”
Thankfully Milner himself was the catalyst for the lead up to Mohamed Salah’s only goal of the day, after taking the ball off Yves Bissouma and allowing Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to take control. From there they sent the ball to Salah and the rest is history.
“That’s obviously what we want to do: catch them. When teams are as well organised as they are, they are the moments – when you win the ball back – to try to strike quickly,” explained Milner.
“Bobby passed the ball through with a lovely weight on the ball. If you give Mo those chances he’s going to take them. The front three are always going to cause problems for all teams.
“Going forward gets most of the headlines but the boys at the back, the goalkeepers and as a team, keeping these clean sheets is so important and that’s what’s getting us the points.”
Liverpool are well on their way to truly becoming the well oiled machine we’ve all seen they could be, and Milner is definitely a very important piece of that machine. Now, with a defense that can properly protect the leads that our attack ensures, the Reds are a dominant force to be reckoned with.