Move over, Mario Balotelli, and take a seat, Steven Gerrard, because James Milner is the best penalty taker Emre Can has ever seen.
"I’m young but I haven’t seen in any of my teams so far such a good penalty taker,” Emre Can told Liverpoolfc.com. “In training, every ball is in the net. He’s a very, very good penalty taker.”
Indeed. Seven times Milner has stepped up to the spot for Liverpool, and all seven efforts have resulted in goals for the Reds. Memorably, this includes the only goal in a brutal 180 minutes of Europa League football against Augsburg, and a late, winning goal against Swansea in the last match.
So far this season Milner has converted all 4 of his efforts from 12 yards, enough to currently lead the free-scoring Reds in Premier League goals. Not bad for the midfielder-turned-leftback.
Can is no stranger to being shuttled out from midfield to fullback—both for club and country—and is duly impressed with Milner’s ability to make the transition.
“It has surprised a lot of people, because it’s not easy to play at left-back from midfield. But Millie did it very well and I think he has scored more goals than last year in this time. He’s a very important player for us. He has to keep going like that and the team has to keep going like that.”
So, now that we’re all lauding James Milner, I fully expect him to have an absolute clanker next time out, and probably miss the next several pens, too. I’m on to you, football gods, do your worst! (Actually, please don’t, at least not until after we’ve beaten Manchester United. Please and thank you.)