James Milner expects to “hit the levels” after slow start at Liverpool

on 28.01.2016

James Milner has endured hit-and-miss form in his first months at Liverpool, but is confident he can reach his high standards in due time.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 25, 2016: Liverpool's James Milner in action during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match against Stoke City at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

When Milner made the decision to quit Manchester City last summer, rejecting their offer of a new contract in favour of a move to Liverpool, the midfielder took a big risk.

Nearing his 30th birthday, Milner joined an ambitious outfit on the fringes of the Premier League’s top four, leaving behind regular title challenges.

Over halfway through his first season on Merseyside however, Milner is yet to hit top form.

But after helping the Reds seal progress to the League Cup final with a penalty-shootout win over Stoke City on Tuesday night, the England international is confident he can “hit the levels.”

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“Whatever happens you make that decision and you stick to it,” he explained.

“You hope it is the right decision and you don’t look back. That is what I have done.

“The fact that we have got to the first cup final this season, I’ve played a lot of football, I am enjoying my time immensely.

“I was in a fortunate position because whichever decision I had made I would have been happy I think. I had two amazing football clubs to choose from and so I was very lucky.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 29, 2015: Liverpool's James Milner looks dejected during the 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham United at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having spent most of his time at the Etihad Stadium as a bit-part player, Milner has been thrown into an important role at Liverpool.

As one of the most experienced players in the current squad, Milner has been tasked with leading the squad, and was named vice-captain shortly after his arrival.

“This is a completely different challenge, different club and a different squad,” he continued.

“City had one of the highest average ages in the league with experienced players, whereas here I am unfortunately one of the more senior guys and there some younger guys here and it is a different role for me again.

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“But I am enjoying it. It is a new challenge and to be in a cup final is amazing.

“Like I said when I came here it is not just about playing games, I want to win trophies.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 26, 2015: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates after the 3-2 victory over Aston Villa during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Though considered an old hand in the Premier League, Milner believes his slow start to life at Liverpool is for the same reason as any other player.

“I still think there is a lot more to come from me here,” he added.

“It is tough changing clubs, I have changed clubs before, played in the Premier League and played a lot of games but it does seem to take time.

“It is a big change, you are playing with different players and everything is new.

“I don’t think I have hit the levels I want to achieve and I know I can, but I will keep working hard and hopefully my best form will come and the fans will see the best of me.”

In Tuesday night’s League Cup semi-final, Milner performed comfortably on the right wing, and in recent weeks this has been Klopp’s favoured role for the 30-year-old.

Having reportedly stipulated regular game time at the centre of the midfield as one of the factors behind his move to Merseyside, Milner is having to come to terms with life under a new manager.

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Fortunately, Klopp’s arrival has not consigned him to the scrapheap just yet.

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  1. He has a future hear no doubt. As an important 1st team player, not one who starts every game just because he is available. In recent weeks hes shown his worth a bit more, I hope he continues. His bad form I think is somewhat due to him playing at center mid, I don’t think he has those qualities

    • He is a british version of Kuyt to me minus the goal scoring exploits.
      Hard grafter, honest, works 110% and will play anywhere.

      At Stoke he went to cover RB as Ibe wouldn’t.
      Honestly I know his attacking output is NOT great but he brings a lot of qualities as an INFLUENTIAL squad player, plus title winning experience (twice).

      I know people here love to go for him but I honestly can’t hate Milner nor understand how people can. He’s old school. Not flashy. Works Hard. Plays anywhere and plays for the team none of this spotlight crap or selfish I am so great attitude. Plus love the fact he gets up when fouled in the box without making it seem like a scene from Titanic.

      • I remember watching him a lot at City and I’m SURE he was more technically accomplished than he is currently showing. City’s quality raising his game?

        • Probably look how good sterling looked in sas. Better players make the decent ones look better ie suarez Gerrard sturridge aguero.

  2. Seriously..I couldn’t even bring myself to read this..I can guess what he said though..Lallana number 2..all talk. Not a Liverpool player. Offers nothing…NEXT!

    • But how come he was in City squad all these years if he was so average? Surely there’s something to him..on the face of it though he does look very average…not much more than a support player.

      • He;s the kind of player that would have suited Arsenal. Bring him on to do a bit of running and help close games out. What does he do? Genuine question…what does he actually really contribute? Apart from “running a lot”…I don’t get it. I really don’t understand people thinking he’s justified as one of our top earners and vice captain..Rodgers written all over it…

        • That running around, being the workhorse, following the manager’s instructions, tackling, being available for passes to link up attack – at the PL level believe it or not, is still not that common and still marketable to have. But definitely, he’s not the player to look up to for real inspiration or to drag the team out of some kind of mire. Like I said, a good support player but not much else. The creativity has to come from the players he’s playing next to. I still think he’ll do alright in a team that was more creative in attack like City.

          • That’s not us right now. He wasn’t the signing that we needed. Would have been good for Arsenal as a support. Doesn’t have the characteristics for the reason we brought him in..Never a leader..Just a set of legs

    • 4 goals and 5 assists in 22 appearances when he’s not even the creative player on the team. His work in pressing is extremely underrated. You can’t expect a team of 11 firminos to work, every team needs some players to do the dirty work.

      • Rafa’s last cup winning team had the ultimate grafter in Kuyt.
        Grafters get underrated. Problem was BR was collecting a team of grafters. But milner for me is the most versatile and useful.

          • Okay sorry shouldn’t have said most useful.
            Hendo is indispensable to me
            He’s a grafter
            He’s our captain
            And he’s the vision in midfield.

          • Vision!!!..I am having a laugh there…most overrated player in LFC history…3 lungs and an occasional long ball…what else does he offer to the team…average at best…
            ….I’m not surprised by our league position since we have a player like Henderson wearing the Captain’s armband…that’s the benchmark we have degraded to ..sigh!

  3. He gets stick unfairly , look at the big picture, a manager sacked, a new manager in, he has new team mates OK he knows the prem but he still has to get used to his new surroundings just like any foreigner give him time give most of the squad time, we are in a final first of many hopefully.

      • I can understand your not his biggest supporter, but to say he is as bad as your saying is way out, take him out the equasion and replace him with gerrard would gerrard pull this team/squad around week in week out I doubt it very much,if milner had a Brazilian name I’m in no doubt you would cut him a lot more slack than you are now.who would you like as stand in skipper?

        • I’d still think Milninho was average.Pull the team together? when? he goes missing a lot..I don’t rate him at all. I’m tired of the same soundbytes from him and lallana as well. As skipper, Lucas, Skrtel, Sakho..anyone..(respect your opinion though)

          • I think what you and I are saying, is why we are talking about it and want the best for liverpool, you mentioned lallana and milner, OK cost big money, and I’ll mention Christian Paulson without the number seven on his back.

          • You’re right…I just don’t see something like that happen again..perhaps I’m being irrationally negative here.

          • We not that giant anymore.
            Unfortunately we have slipped from TOP 4 favorites and UCL dark horses to Europa hopefuls and Top 6 contenders..

          • Anyone of them as skipper you mention but they are not, so he will have my support in the mean time.

          • Well I’ll hardly go beating his door down and I doubt he reads or cares about what I say on here..so…

          • Think positively mate… it used to be much much worse in the past where week-in week-out Welsh Xavi and Bodgers would take turns to scratch each others back in front of the media, while the fans puke all over their TV sets.

  4. Not fit to wear our iconic no.7 shirt, just an honest grafter, & we already have Hendo who fits that description. There isn’t a place in the same team for both in my opinion.

  5. Milner was always average. Another British over-hyped player that sold for big money. Only do to his hard working he managed to stay in the CIty as a squad player.

  6. Another of Rodgers mistakes. Not a bad squad player, but not for the money we are paying him. Will be gone in 18 months from now.

  7. Good enough squad player,If we are 1-0 up, 89th minute bring him on, hold it in the corner flag, trip over the ball a few times, put a free kick into row z, commit a few fouls, and thats 4 minutes gone and 3 points in the bag.

  8. He came here to start regularly in MF…but now he plays in the same utility position he did at City with more game time instead…it’s Milly.

        • This is bang accurate!

          Honestly even Gerrard corners went downhill last season. It is worrying we can’t take set pieces or defend from them –

          Have a theory – how can we learn to defend from set pieces if we have no one who can actually take them for the defense to practice from – catch 22.

          Ward Prowse has a fantastic delivery on him but his all round game still lacking. Could buy him just to teach our defense how to defend those whipping balls.

    • and that’s where he should play and he should accept it. He looked poor in the middle to me, definite improvement now hes back to his old positions

      • Improved sure but still not good enough I think for the long term. I kinda rate Milner and Lallana in the same boat even though they do possess different qualities. Atleast Milner can ping in good crosses from time to time.

        • Milner doesn’t fall over his own feet and get pushed over by the wind.

          If Lallana was stronger he could fashion more chances. Plus his shot his AWFUL. Honestly seen a 10 year old buy smack the ball harder!

          Lallana is the anti-British player – loads of flair, little strength and poor shot – always tries finesse it in.
          Milner is the typical British player – very little flair/skill, strong and straight hard shots.

          We can’t afford to have BOTH starting just fact that we are very limited in options means its inevitable.

        • Players roles within a squad are changing all the time, I think he’ll be with us a couple more years at least

  9. The regret of Man City fans was genuine. Never flash, but always quality.

    I backed him to form a nice partnership with Henderson, but events conspired against that. And considering the performances in the past weeks, there is nothing to suggest that he should be on the pitch before Allen. Simply a matter of 5-6 performances against 7-8 ones.

    I still think he can do well, but he needs to make way from automatic starter.

    • I genuinely think that CM is not his position and was one of BR downfalls trying to force that.
      Milner is a grafter and will cover every blade of grass – telling him to sit back and defend smartly goes against his DNA.

      Far more useful on the left of the attacking 3 babysitting our over eager left back.
      I would take him over the flash off Lallana any day.

  10. funnily enough, I rates him so high during his days at Man chity, but now that he is at liverpool & playing regularly, i dont think he is good enough to be in the starting 11, maybe a squad player & for cup games, but that is about it!

  11. I think Klopp will keep him because he is so versatile,it’s virtualy the Kevin Grosskreutz of Liverpool and that’s always a nice player to have

  12. Unfortunately I don’t think he’s good enough to start. A useful squad member but that’s not what you want your vice captain to be.

    Just ask yourself if he would start for any other team going for top 4 or the league and you have your answer.

    He’s not what you want a winger to be, doesn’t score enough to be part of a front 3. I think he’d suite a CDM role to be honest, disciplined, hard working, clever and can tackles hard. Bit surprised he hasn’t had a stint their anywhere else.

    He obviously has a lot of self believe which all players need but he isn’t good enough going forward in my opinion.

  13. He has 3 goals 5 assists in the league this season. Dont let the agenda’s of some authors on this site fool you. He’s had a fairly decent start to his Liverpool career bar some woeful corners. Noticed that TIA have been a lot nicer to him of late though i think they have now switched from slagging off Milner to Moreno.

  14. I think right now he is important with his versatility and energy, but in the long run his talent is not enough for a world class team that Klopp has the vision to build.

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