Liverpool face a key clash in their race to qualify for the UEFA Champions League as they take on old rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
As it stands, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds sit six points off of the top four with just five matches left to play so the clash against the Red Devils really is pivotal in their season with a Champions League place being the only thing that they have left to play for.
One man in the Liverpool squad who certainly understands these type of games – where the stakes are so high – is veteran midfielder James Milner. He simply must start at Old Trafford.
Whilst the 61-cap former England international is firmly in the twilight of his career at the age of 35, he brings with him plenty of experience in huge games due to his spells with Manchester City and, of course, the Reds.
That understanding and ability to remain calm in key moments could certainly come in useful against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men. Klopp is certainly aware of his key role in the Liverpool squad, labelling the midfielder as “massively important”.
Whilst some will argue that Milner does not possess the ability to silence the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba during the game, his defensive statistics suggest otherwise.
When compared to fellow midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, who has rarely dropped out of the starting line-up in the Premier League this season, Milner overcomes the Dutchman on tackles and clearances per game, according to WhoScored.
Again, as the Reds attempt to shut out a United side that have won five out of their last six Premier League games, those aspects could well be key.
So, whilst Milner will certainly appear as an unlikely candidate to start at Old Trafford, Klopp really must restore him to the side as he could certainly be crucial in Liverpool earning a positive result in what is a crucial game.
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