With the January transfer window looming just over the horizon and talk in the papers starting to ramp up regarding who Liverpool will be looking to draft in come the New Year, Reds vice-captain James Milner has said it’s his responsibility to ensure that Jurgen Klopp wants to keep him in his starting eleven.
“It is down to me to make sure they don’t buy a left back,” said the veteran utility man, currently being deployed as a fullback. “He (Klopp) doesn’t owe me anything. I am a Liverpool player, he is the manager, he picks the best team to win and it is my job to make sure that what is best for Liverpool is me,” added Milner with speculation ongoing that the club will be look to recruit a more natural defender this winter. “You read a lot about players not being honourable and loyal, but clubs are not loyal to players either. But we know what business it is.”
It’s safe to say it’s not a nice one; a regular feature under former boss Brendan Rodgers and during Klopp’s first season in charge, Alberto Moreno knows this fact all too well with the versatile Englishman keeping him on the bench. While it might be a bit hyperbolic to say that Milner has been a “revelation” since taking up a slot in the back four in August, you’d be remiss to discount his contribution to the cause — one that will see Liverpool go into the meeting with Sunderland this weekend a mere point off the summit after Chelsea’s narrow win over newly promoted Middlesbrough on Sunday saw them pip the Anfield outfit to top spot.
“Full-back is a position which changes massively depending on who the manager is. A left back now is different to a left back 10 years ago and that is why I have not studied anyone,” explained the 30-year old, expanding on the need for practical application over theory. “It would be pointless. And a left back for Jurgen Klopp is going to be playing a lot different to a left back for another manager,” added Milner. “I would find it harder playing left back for another manager in another system because Jurgen likes his full backs to play, he wants his teams to be fluid. There are going to be times when I will end up in centre midfield and centre midfield will be covering me.”