James Milner doesn’t have many off days, but against Napoli in the Champions League his difficult night proved that when he doesn’t play well, the whole Liverpool side struggle.
There is a strong argument to suggest that the 32-year-old has been Jurgen Klopp’s best and most important player so far this season and he has contributed two goals and two assists in all competitions during the campaign.
It was a tough night for the Reds away in Naples though, as a late Lorenzo Insigne goal consigned them to their second defeat of the season in all competitions and extended their winless run to three games on the bounce.
Milner, who is usually so full of running, was stretched by Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli side as they used their wingers effectively to drag Liverpool’s narrow central midfield three out wide and out of the game.
The Englishman, who is valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, managed just two crosses in the game and not a single key pass as the Reds struggled to get on the ball and create chances. In fact, Klopp’s side went the full 90 minutes without recording a shot on target, something that would have been unthinkable with their attacking prowess last season.
Despite having 52 touches on the ball, Milner failed to create anything on the night and was forced into six long passes, with just three of those being successful.
Liverpool’s German boss would no doubt have been happy with a 0-0 draw, but thanks to the late goal it was a poor night for the Reds, and they will have to improve if they are to get anything out of the huge Premier League clash with Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.