I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Liverpool are in the Champions League final. It’s because they beat Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield, overturning the 3-0 loss from the first leg. We’re not going to get tired of saying that any time soon. Nor is James Milner, in all likelihood.
“Losing the [Premier League] title can work for us”, Milner told the Mail on Sunday. “If we’d won the title, then the Champions League final might have felt like a bonus. The danger was that we ended up with nothing — and we still might — but the memory of losing out to City drives us on.
“Since I’ve been at the club, I’ve been desperate to win something for Liverpool. That’s what the club demands and expects. You walk into the training ground every day and you see the numbers under each trophy. I’ve been desperate to get someone in to change those.”
Speaking of some altercations he had at Anfield with a Mr. Lionel Messi, the midfielder added that the Barcelona star, “Wasn’t happy. He was giving me plenty in Spanish going down the tunnel at half-time as well. He was calling me ‘burro’. It translates as donkey but I think it’s also used in Spanish football as a general term for someone who goes around kicking people.
“I asked him if he was all right, but he wasn’t having it. I don’t think he realised I understood his Spanish. He said: ‘That foul you did, that’s because I nutmegged you.’ I left him to it at that point and went into the changing room. Look, I’ve only got admiration for him. He has earned the right to say what he wants.
“The stuff he did in that game, stuff he has done his whole career, it makes him tough to play against. If you try and stop him, you can’t be scared of being made to look foolish. I’ve done it. I’ve been nutmegged by him and it has been viewed a million times. I wasn’t the first and I won’t be the last. He’s an incredible player.
“But with players like that, you have to let them know you’re there and not let them have everything their own way. You just need to try to disrupt their rhythm. You don’t want to hurt him but it’s a physical game and, if he’s running the game, you try and knock him out of his stride. It’s part of the game, the mental side.”
We’d love to say that we here at The Liverpool Offside are above petty drama, but we’re not. Milner’s snide successfully got under Messi’s skin. You love to see it.