It’s almost Christmas, and Liverpool are sitting on the top of the Premier League, four points clear of Manchester City after the latter’s shock defeat this weekend against Crystal Palace. Opta Joe, NBC, and pretty much everyone who has an audience have pointed that only one team in the last five years has been at the top of the league at Christmas and then not won. Spoiler: it was us.
So, it makes sense that James Milner is focused past Christmas, on the game on Boxing Day and on keeping Liverpool’s unbeaten streak (the only team this season, have we mentioned that?) alive for a little while longer.
“Boxing Day always seems to have a different feel,” Milner told the club’s official website when asked about Wednesday’s match against Newcastle. “There are plenty of distractions, or there could be, for players and for fans and things like that, and it’s always a nice festive feeling around the game,”
“It’s a traditional thing to do at Christmas but as players we have to focus on the job at hand and make sure we’re not distracted by the time of year. It is a time of year for family and you have to make time for that, but when you’re training on Christmas Day and then going to the hotel and preparing for the game, your mind has got to be on that.”
Per Milner, it helps that the Reds have been doing incredibly well this season, too.
“Mentally, sometimes when things are going well you just want to keep playing games and getting the results, but obviously it’s a hectic schedule [and] you’re going to have injuries, you’re going to have suspensions,” the vice-captain added.
Despite quite a few injury scares in December, the Reds will have something to look forward to on Boxing Day, with both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita recovering well from their injuries and potentially available to play.