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James Milner reveals “little chat” with Haaland during “confidence boost” win

James Milner was part of a defiant team display as Liverpool beat Man City 1-0 on Sunday, with the vice-captain describing it as a “confidence boost.”

Before kickoff at Anfield, there were concerns over Milner’s role on the right-hand side of the defence up against Phil Foden.

But he allayed them emphatically, with a standout performance as the Reds won for only the third time in the Premier League this season, against their major rivals.

The narrative throughout the game was Erling Haaland’s clash with Virgil van Dijk – which the Dutchman undoubtedly triumphed in – but the Norwegian was perhaps more interested in Milner.

A former Leeds youth product, who came through the academy while the striker’s father, Alf-Inge Haaland, was part of the senior side, the No. 7 shared a mutual connection.

And asked by Jan Aage Fjortoft whether Haaland had brought up “Leeds, Leeds, Leeds” again, Milner told Viaplay that they had had a “little chat.”

“I can confirm he said he was going to sign for Leeds a few years ago when we played against him and he was obviously lying, so that’s disappointing!” the 36-year-old recalled.

“We had a little chat, yeah…”

Milner went on to praise the Anfield supporters for an “absolutely outstanding” atmosphere, fuelling a “fantastic team performance” in which “the boys sacrificed themselves for the team.”

Not only for Milner himself, but the victory may have proved critics wrong when it came to Liverpool’s hopes for the campaign.

“It’s blah to us, but there’s a lot of talk outside,” the vice-captain said.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's James Milner (L) and Manchester City's Phil Foden during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“For us, we just try to keep improving.

“We know we haven’t been playing as well as we can, we’ve had issues with injuries and changes being made and not hit our stride as we would like.

“But for us, we just try to take as we always do, try to fight back to being our best, work through those issues on the training field, put everything into every game.

“That’s what this team will always do.

“That should be a big confidence boost, to be able to put in a performance like that against City and get a win.”