Liverpool picked up their first three points of 2021 with an impressive 3-1 victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday night, which puts their ambitions of winning a second successive Premier League title back on track.
Goals from Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Sadio Mane gave Jurgen Klopp’s side the victory in North London but it was perhaps the performance of James Milner that stood out the most.
As per SofaScore, the experienced midfielder would earn a strong 7.5/10 match rating for his performance, which was only bettered by Mane and Alexander-Arnold.
Jordan Henderson playing in defence meant that the former Manchester City man earned a rare Premier League start in midfield but he certainly made the most of his opportunity.
The 35-year-old would make three interceptions and two tackles from midfield during the game against Jose Mourinho’s side, which is far better than his season average of 0.5 interceptions and one tackle per game.
In the Spurs midfield, meanwhile, Tanguy Ndombele would make no interceptions and just one tackle, which emphasises that Milner’s performance was on another level at times last night.
The former England international would have 77 touches of the ball during the 90 minutes and contributed 56/65 passes, resulting in an 86% pass success rate.
Again, this was higher than Ndombele, who would you normally expect to be Spurs’ chief creator from midfield.
Perhaps most impressively, Milner would contribute as many as four key passes during the game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, which was more than any other player on the pitch, and also comfortably more than the 0.8 he has averaged per game in the Premier League so far this season.
Back in 2018, midfield partner Georginio Wijnaldum labelled Milner a “machine” and that was reiterated on Thursday night as he showed that he can still produce excellent performances in the top-flight despite being 35.
Therefore, although Alexander-Arnold may steal the headlines after his goal and assist on Thursday, it was arguably the performance of Milner that will have impressed Klopp the most.