It was a hard-fought game at St. James Park against Newcastle for Liverpool FC’s last game of 2020. Speaking to the official club website, vice-captain (and former Newcastle old boy) James Milner thought the team put in a better performance than they did over the weekend, but rued our inability to put the game away:
Is that a rare night where you just weren’t clinical enough?
I think that’s pretty spot on really. I think the performance was pretty good, bouncing back from the second half in the last game, which wasn’t particularly good, and then putting in a pretty good performance tonight. We created enough chances, [were] solid at the back, any balls that popped out we were winning. But a mixture of good goalkeeping, defending, a bit of bad luck and maybe not taking our chances well enough was the difference.
If you were looking for areas of improvement from Sunday night – the fact you did create more opportunities here...
For sure, I think it was a big improvement. We’ve come up against two very stubborn teams, given everything to get the points. So at least we performed better, unfortunately it wasn’t good enough for the three points but we’ve got to keep pushing and if we play like that [then] more often than not we’ll get the three points.
When asked about the tumultuous year that was 2020, Milner gave a really reflective answer, taking note of the strange circumstances Liverpool and teams across the league have faced both on and off the pitch:
Given how many problems you’ve faced as a group from the start of the season, is it still a positive that you can go into 2021 top of the table?
I think it’s a positive but it seems to be at this moment in time that nobody wants to take it by the scruff of the neck. We’ve dropped points, everyone seems to be dropping points. United have had a good run and they’re probably the only team who are putting a run together. It’s important that we need to kick on now and try to get a few three-pointers. But the world is in a very strange place at the moment and it’s the same in football. Everybody’s lives are upside down, it’s tough mentally for everybody and it’s the same in football. Hopefully we can get out of this the other side and it’s the same with football – we just need to keep plugging away. It is different, it’s different times and that time where you maybe need the crowd to give you that lift and get it over the line. That might’ve happened on another day. But it’s where we are and we need to keep working hard.
As you can see, we’ve given absolutely everything. The boys are doing well. The amount of minutes some of the lads have played, it’s nice to see a few of the boys getting back – obviously Thiago getting on today and showing his quality. We’ll stick together, we’ll keep plugging away and we just need to get that final piece of the puzzle right. Like I say, I thought it was a good performance tonight, we just needed that final bit to get the goals. If we keep playing like that, hopefully we can go on a run and put some more points on the board.