Expectations were high for Liverpool heading into the new season, and a 4-0 hammering of West Ham that puts them top of the table be goals scored and goal differential after the first week of the season certainly won’t do anything to lower them.
Veteran midfielder James Milner, though, says it’s time to embrace those expectations and the pressure that comes along with them—because now, this season, this is a Liverpool side that’s finally good enough to deliver on them.
“We are expected to win every single game, no matter who we are playing against when we step on to the field,” Liverpool’s vice captain told The Liverpool Echo. “It’s up to us to be big enough to accept that responsibility and embrace the pressure.
“I’ve been here for three years now and in that time we’ve been to three finals and come so close to winning silverware. You can see the progression of the team since the manager has been here. We are capable of beating anyone.”
Last season, Liverpool looked consistently convincing in Europe, making it all the way to the Champions League final with a string of dominant knockout round victories over Porto and Roma and Manchester City proving it was no fluke, no lucky run.
In the league, too, Liverpool looked convincingly one of the top sides, but they were let down late in the season by a lack of depth that made a top four finish more nervy than it otherwise would have been. That issue has now been sorted.
That means that, for Milner, it’s time to stop talking about building the future—it’s time, this season, for Liverpool to start winning things. Liverpool are now serious contenders in every competition they’re in, and they need something to show for it.
“The team has evolved and we’re moving forward,” Milner added. “I think it is time we got over the line. That’s putting pressure on ourselves but that is what’s expected at this football club. It’s something that we are more than ready to do.”