Having put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield in the build-up to the clash against Watford, Liverpool midfielder James Milner would have been cloud nine. His future at the reigning Champions League holders is secured for the time being, and he can simply look forward to winning as many trophies as he can.
The one thing that perhaps has worked against in his time in the Premier League, is his versatility. The 33-year-old has played in a variety of different positions, with goalkeeper and centre-back appearing to be the only notable absences in his repertoire according to Transfermarkt. And on Saturday lunchtime, the veteran was asked to fill in at left-back once again, with first-choice Andy Robertson being left on the bench as Jurgen Klopp tried his best to keep players as fresh as possible for the busy Christmas schedule.
Watch Liverpool Videos With StreamFootball.tv Below
And whilst he has played there 45 times already, he struggled somewhat against the Hornets, with Ismaila Sarr’s pace and trickery giving him a tough defensive test. But perhaps surprisingly, it was his game going forward that let him down the most. As per Sofascore, he failed to complete both of his attempted crosses, and lost possession 13 times over the course of the game. After seeing his disappointing display, Liverpool fans took to Twitter to voice their frustrations with the 33-year-old.
Milner has been bad, new contract gone to his head
— SK (@NotTomGarbutt) 14 December 2019
firmino was awful and milner was non existent
— Brett (@LFC__Brett) 14 December 2019
Today’s game is exactly why we need a new left back. Milner does a job but he is at best , good for an emergency.
A back up is essential !
— Saket (@saketdhodapkar) 14 December 2019
Milner is no longer capable of playing the Liverpool style…he should now go to China
— Kurima Tinashe (@TinasheKurima) 14 December 2019
A couple of fans criticised him for his positional sense when playing at left-back, with one supporter in particular lambasting it as simply “horrible”.
Is Milner ever in the right position when he plays left back #LFC
— Ahmed Lulat (@LUUUULAT) 14 December 2019
Milner’s defensive positioning is horrible
— Hans (@HanssXCIX) 14 December 2019
Another couple of Reds supporters felt Milner was sleeping, and urged him to wake up and step up the intensity.
Where was Milner then, wake up @lfc
— Riggers (@UniqueRiggers) 14 December 2019
Wake up Milner!!! Gini needs to come off! #LFC
— Gurtej Drumline (@GurtejM) 14 December 2019
At 33, and not in his natural position, Milner simply does a job whenever he’s asked to play at left-back. Klopp will surely be aware it’s not a particularly long-term solution, and the fact he had to bring on Robertson during the second-half appeared to under-line the veteran’s struggles. But having gotten the win, that is all that will matter to the Liverpool boss.