James Milner not concerned but accepts Liverpool won’t deserve to progress if they don’t beat Napoli

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Liverpool midfielder James Milner accepts they do not deserve to be in the Champions League if they cannot win at home to Napoli.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are faced with the challenge of beating their Serie A rivals 1-0 or by two clear goals to progress to the knockout stage.

Anfield has become something of a fortress for them as they have lost there just once – September’s EFL Cup tie against Chelsea – since January and they have already dispatched Paris St Germain and Red Star Belgrade this season.

Another great European night is in store but Milner was typically blunt in his assessment of what lies ahead.

“We know it was a tough group all along, the Champions League is tough,” said the Reds’ vice-captain.

“But to have it in your own hands going into the last game and having a home game – we’d like to have it sewn up by now sure we would – I don’t think you can ask for more.

“If you had said ‘You have to win your last home game to get through the group’ I think everyone would have been fine with it.

“If you can’t win your home games in the Champions League then you don’t deserve to go through.

“I’m not concerned, we’ve played pretty well this season.

PARIS, FRANCE - Wednesday, November 28, 2018: Liverpool's Sadio Mane (L), captain Jordan Henderson (C) and Virgil van Dijk (R) looks dejected as Paris Saint-Germain scores the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool FC at Parc des Princes. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We’re not that experienced in the Champions League. We had a good run (to the final) last year and that will definitely help us but we got through in the final group game last year and look where we ended up.

“You don’t see any of the lads panicking, we are comfortable we can go and finish the job at home.”

Failure to win would likely mean a drop into the Europa League seven months after they were playing in the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Kiev.

It is not a scenario which is being considered by the players.

“I don’t think that’s crossed anyone’s mind to be honest,” added Milner.

“Our aim is to get out of the group: get the result and get through.

“If we don’t do that we don’t deserve to be in the Champions League and we’ll take whatever happens from there – Europa League or whatever.

“At this moment in time we’re just focused on getting through the group.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 18, 2018: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates scoring the second goal from a penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Before that there is the small matter of Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield, where Everton have not won since 1999.

“I think it’s going to be a good game, the atmosphere will be good and that will help,” said Milner.

“But as players we should be able to bounce back either way but it is a nice game, they are always great games to play in derbies.

“They are on an OK run as well so it’s going to be a tough game. It’s down to us to continue our league form and bounce back.”

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