This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
James Milner continues to defy the years at Liverpool.
The veteran midfielder is 33 and was the oldest player in the Reds’ matchday squad for their clash with Leicester City on Saturday.
And yet he played an absolutely vital role in their narrow 2-1 win at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp’s men squeaked past the Foxes thanks to their elder statesman and Sadio Mane.
The Senegal international opened the scoring after a delicious ball through from his English team-mate. Milner collected the ball in his own half and curved it into Mane’s path, and he ran through, one-on-one, to score.
The roles were reversed later on, as Mane won a late penalty, which Milner dutifully converted.
That doesn’t really tell the whole story though.
Throughout the 90 minutes, Milner had 70 touches of the ball, three shots on goal, a pass completion rate of 87% and won two tackles, while also making one interception.
This was an all-action display.
Milner just seems to get better and he’s absolutely vital to the way Liverpool play.
He has the energy to get up and down the pitch and is also creative enough to both score and provide.
Indeed, the Reds started the game with Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum alongside him in midfield and Milner ran the show, picking up a 7.7 rating from WhoScored, higher than both of his team-mates.
It bears repeating that he’s 33 and his inclusion actually saw Jordan Henderson, their usual captain, benched.
Amazingly, he wasn’t missed.