A year ago, nobody expected James Milner to be Liverpool’s left back, least of all James Milner. But, having now made the switch, the versatile 30-year-old is determined to do everything he can to make sure that Jürgen Klopp isn’t interested in looking to the transfer market to strengthen the position any time soon.
“It’s down to me to make sure they don’t buy another left back,” said Milner when asked about the chances of Klopp looking for a new fullback. “He doesn’t owe me anything. I’m a Liverpool player, he’s the manager, he picks the best team to win and it’s my job to make sure that what is best for Liverpool is me.”
No new left backs in January, or next summer. James Milner has the position locked down from now until the heat death of the universe. At least that’s how he sees it, and based on the results so far at least it’s difficult to argue the position is the kind of pressing need many seemed so certain it was over the summer.
It may not be a position of strength in the same way attacking midfield is, but Liverpool are solidly in the top four at the end of November and by all appearances legitimate title contenders. Major changes won’t be on the cards for January, and replacing the veteran vice-captain would certainly count as major change.
Liverpool currently lead the league in goals scored, and their 14 conceded is more than respectable for such a high-flying attacking side, standing them seventh best in goals against. They may not be a defensive juggernaut, but they’re far from poor defensively, and a lot of that is—rather unexpectedly—thanks to Milner.
“I would find it harder playing left back for another manager in another system because Jürgen likes his full-backs to play, he wants his teams to be fluid,” added the unexpected left back. “There are going to be times when I will end up in centre midfield and centre midfield will be covering me.”