James Milner is relishing playing in his first Merseyside derby on Sunday and says the atmosphere will be magnified in comparison to other derbies.
Having played for Leeds United, Swindon Town, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Manchester City before arriving at Anfield this summer, Milner has already experienced some of English football’s other most heated local rivalries.
“I’ve got derby experience at other teams I’ve played for but, having played at Everton, I know what a tough place it is to go anyway and the atmosphere that’s created there,” he said.
“I can only imagine it’s magnified by 10, 20 or 30 times playing in a Merseyside derby. It will be a great atmosphere, I’m sure.
“Obviously any derby you play in, you want to do it for the team but more so for the fans – they’ve got to go into work the next day and face their workmates and have bragging rights for at least three or four months.
“It’s important for them and everyone at the club and gives you that boost. Form always goes out of the window going into a derby.
“It’s normally a one-off game and a bit of a cup final and a completely different game to anything else you’re going to play for the rest of the season.”
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Stand-in captain Milner will lead the Reds out under immense scrutiny, with just one win within 90 minutes in their last eight games.
The Yorkshireman says there’s not doubting the importance a win in the Merseyside derby could bring.
“It gives everyone around the club a boost, the players and all the fans,” he added.
“It’s even bigger that we’re going into an international break after it as well – you haven’t got a game a couple of days later to bounce back if things don’t go your way.
“It gives the fans those extra days to bask in the glory of a win if we do get the job done. Hopefully we will, because there’s only international football for the next 10 days.
“That makes it even more important, to take momentum into the internationals and come out of that with another set of fixtures.”