James Milner, Time To Say Goodbye?

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James Milner, seasoned England international,  Premier League winner, FA Cup winner, League Cup winner. These are all impressive stats from Liverpool’s most high profile signing from last summer. And I’m sure there were some fans out there who thought the same as me when he was announced as one of Brendan Rodgers first summer signings; great what a fantastic signing, I had hoped that maybe Rodgers had learned from his mistakes from the previous summer and instead of bringing in young potential players, he was bringing in experienced International players who were winners and who had notonly Premier League experience but also Champions League experience.

Time to say goodbye to James Milner

But the dream of James Milner match winner soon turned into a nightmare. For some, he doesn’t do anything on the pitch to justify him being Liverpool vice captain, a role coveted by every player who wears the red of the club or his rumoured £150000 a week wages. Under Brendan Rodgers at the start of the season he looked like a headless chicken, slowing down attacks, passing backwards and generally slowing things down on the pitch. Oh did I forget to mention how he seems to loves to run around in circles like a dog chasing his tail? And some might say I may be a bit harsh on Milner but for a player on his wages, a player of his experience he has only managed four goals and five assists in the twenty two games he’s played so far this season for Liverpool. That’s a poor return in my book when you consider in the three games Brad Smith has played for Liverpool he has three assists and a goal for Liverpool, Sheyi Ojo has one assist and one goal for Liverpool, for me these stats speak volumes about how poor Milner has been this season. Milner also misses more chances than he scores. Look at the sitter he missed to put Liverpool two up at Norwich at the weekend. Yes he scored a similar goal to score Liverpool’s fourth but for me he should be scoring these one on one chances every time.

At thirty years of age, I don’t think Milner will get any better. Jürgen Klopp as a manager has the ability to improve player performance; look at how much better the less fancied players like Adam Lallana, Lucas and Dejan Lovren have improved since he took over in October. The move to Liverpool from Manchester City was Milners one last big move in my opinion, so you would imagine he would be playing out of his skin to help Liverpool become successful again.

Is it time for Jürgen Klopp to ditch James Milner in favour for Jordan Ibe or Sheyi Ojo? I would say yes. Milner offers nothing on the pitch when he’s playing for Liverpool, in fact for me the team are a much more fluid and attack minded team when he’s not playing. Look how easily Liverpool dismantled the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea when he wasn’t playing. There was no one playing backwards, the attack of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana was immense and fast moving, and most important of all the team scored goals. The money the club are paying or wasting on Milner on a weekly basis could be used to pay for new contracts for not only Sheyi Ojo (tin hat time again) but also Jerome Sinclair who is another young player with great potential (we’ll forget for a minute who his agent is). Then whatever is left from that could be used to the wages of maybe Leroy Sane, who is a player who could electrify the Liverpool attack in an instant and make Liverpool fans forget about Daniel Sturridge.

James Milner creativity stats via Squawka
James Milner creativity stats via Squawka

I’m hoping that Klopp sees what I see in James Milner, that he’s simply not good enough to wear the Liverpool jersey. He like, Simon Mignolet is a liability on the pitch. To get back his performances that earned him a move to Manchester City I think Milner needs a move to the likes of Stoke City or a Newcastle United where he’ll no doubt be a central player for them but at Liverpool that’s never going to happen.

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  1. As the squaka stats show, he has created more chances than any of his central midfield competitors. He is also being played out of his favoured central midfield position at the moment. Once Coutinho is back, I’d have Milner in central midfield ahead of Can. Milner is better defensively, more aware of what is going on around him, a better communicator, and he creates more than Can.

    • I don’t think so, Milner is not offering the team balance in the middle of the park and going forward.ball retention is terrible the last couple of games that Milner & Hendo have played in have been woeful. But the inclusion of Jo Allen has been a revelation. He has improved greatly under Klopp and has added Goals to his game. His movement and directional passes have been simply breathtaking and a joy to watch. I wouldn’t say this but he reminds me of Alonso, yes I know big shoes to fill. But he is filling them slowly.

    • The stats point to the failings of the other midfielders rather than proving how great Milner has been.
      Of course they also ignore the boost that Milner’s attacking stats would be given by him playing in a more attacking role, and taking set-pieces as well btw…

    • Fair enough, Milner does give 100%. Unfortunately his 100% is just not good enough (for him to be a regular starter in the front 3 or midfield pivot of a good team).

    • Agreed – this article is ridiculous. 4 goals and 5 assists is not bad at all for his position, the point in the season and in relation to the rest of the team. These stats don’t even take into account the work Milner does off the ball and the effect it has on the opposition (and LFC). He looks like he is a dog chasing his tail because he is relentless in his pursuit when pressing – he doesn’t give up if he doesn’t collect the ball the first time. This article is like a bad, unconsidered comments post. It’s kind of embarrassing.

  2. I am I right in thinking this is a comedy artical? Or is this “journalist” just incredibly bad? Funniest bit was when he compared his stats to Brad smith and Ojo smith came on against Southampton that were barly present when we were 4 or 5 up and smith and ojo’s other games were against a leauge 2 side. Let’s be serious for a min Lallana and Milner arnt play well enough admittedly but they both don’t stop running and are key parts to klopp’s system just need a better output.

  3. thumbs up…!!!ignore the criticisms…rest assured that you’re not alone in your views…milner offers industry but not creativity…henderson and milner should never play together as they offers the same traits in central midfield…we need a game changer in our central midfield…with klopp’s preference for 2 central midfielders as what he used to do during his dortmund days and emre can cementing one of the spots there, we need someone in the mould of xabi alonso for the other role… a deep-lying playmaker who could also defend…hence, both henderson and milner could actually be dropped as squad players instead and made dispensable as their style doesn’t actually fit klopp’s blueprint…they could be a backup for can but for 2 similar backups in a squad, it makes no sense to keep 2 high earners when the money could actually be more useful elsewhere…

  4. This article is absolute drivel. Milner wasn’t brought in to be a creative spark or to replace goals we’ve lost, that’s the more responsibility of our more forward players of which we have a many. He was brought in for his experience and dynamism. He rarely makes mistakes, and works possibly harder than anyone else on the pitch. I’m a big supporter of Can, I have a lot of time for him but he gives the ball away incessantly. He could use a little break to sharpen up, and start finding his teammates feet.
    Also, I appreciate the use of statistics to support your argument, unfortunately however; they completely undermine it.
    Milner’s wages are offset by his free transfer, and he remains one of the more valuable additions in my eyes.

  5. Ibe and Ojo aren’t ready to be regular starters in the front 3 and Milner just isn’t good enough.

    It’s a pity that so many of our fans have such low standards that they’re happy with Milner’s performances this season.

  6. I’m sorry, but this is completely out of touch with reality. Not only do the stats show that Milner is our best central midfielder (given he has the best rating per 90 minutes in all the stats you posted), you compared him with a full back and an attacking midfielder/winger. That’s like saying Adam Bogdán is our best goalkeeper and then comparing him with Jon Flanagan and Christian Benteke.

    Not only that, might I remind you of something our great Shankly said: “A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it, and three who can play the damn thing.”

    You can’t expect every single player in a team to be a highly skilled dribbler who will be effective every time going foward. Furthermore, I’ve never heard the Kop singing they wanted a team of Messis, yet strangely enough I distinctly remember something about a team of Carraghers. Milner is, not only, one of our most important piano carriers (alongside Hendo and perhaps Lucas & Can), but he is one of the few who can do both jobs. His main job is to be a pest, someone who will mark players all around the pitch, and offer a creative spark if it’s ever needed. To me, he does that brilliantly. He runs more than everyone else, he creates chances, he opens space, he marks players and he always – always – gives 110%. To say it is “time to say goodbye” is not only an insult to what our manager described as a “perfect professional” (mind you, he used the expression twice while talking about our squad – once for Milner, once for Henderson. Coincidentally, captain and vice captain), but it is also just completely out of touch with reality.

    • Think the piano piece is totally honest and quoted from a legend.. But for the writer of the original argument to undermine his point with bad stats just allows people that know less about a game where Jurgen Klopp has won honors, admittedly in another league, to pull you to pieces… I’m not suggesting some of your argument isn’t an honest opinion of what you see, however, how much damage would more teams do to us if we didn’t have that dog chasing his tail….

  7. More nonsense, badly written. While I’m sure you were a massive advocate of pacheco back in the day, the reason Klopp isn’t going to throw in the kids instead of someone like Milner is they can’t offer a fraction of what he does overall. The kids might seem exciting but that’s only because we haven’t had the chance to see they’re limitations exposed, and while they could be good Klopp like any right minded individual doesn’t seem to think they’re ready. It’s the whole ‘Tiago Illori is our second best centre half’ argument again, which seems to have died down since Klopp like numerous other managers doesn’t seem to rate him, otherwise explain an overweight, geriatric Kolo playing ahead of him.
    The Anfield Index needs to excersise some serious quality control, with its podcasts, where nearly everyone these days sounds pretty much sub-Dave Hendrick (a frightening thought in itself) and its articles like this one which are repetative, reactionary garbage. There needs to be an understanding that while everyone is entitled to an opinion, not every opinion is well enough thought out to merit a spot on a podcast or an article

  8. I love how the author remarks about Miller’s 4 goals and 5 assists this campaign, yet when mentioning Lallana clearly misses the fact that he has 1 goal and 4 assists this year (a fluke goal might I add that recently and barely saved 2 points against Norwich). Shouldn’t this article be about how much of a waste Lallana has been since coming from Southampton? Miller adds so much to the squad, most of the confidence/ability in defence (he can’t do it all himself), and is appearing more on the scoresheet than Lallana, Sturridge, Benteke, AND EVEN Coutinho. His role is to provide confident defending and high pressure on attackers. His role is not to score goals and/or provide assists, yet he is amongst the team leaders in both departments. Stupidest article I’ve ever read from a Liverpool “fan”.
    Oh and BTW, don’t include a stats graph that COMPLETELY DISPROVES YOUR ARTICLE. Dumb wanker.

  9. I think the writer is right.. Let me ask a question, can a player like milner get a slot into our 2004/2005 team.? Absolutely no, it is just because we have lost the Sense of the way we us to be. Liverpool is a very big club and we need a very big player.

    • i think he might considering 05 was probably a worse all-round squad that got carried by a few great players (Gerrard, Alonso, Carra). I’d sure he would find a place on one of the wings for the always injured Kewell

  10. Terrible article. You say this and that about Milner but don’t give any proof instead t you show how he’s actually been our most productive CM. Not only that how tf do you cal 9 direct involvements in goals (Goals+assists) in 22 for a CM bad. Some cm don’t even manage that in a whole season, if I’m not mistaken thats a team 3rd high after Firmino and (the other overly criticized player) Benteke.

  11. This post touched a nerve!
    I think he’s a hard working player that does a job. There are weaknesses though. For such an experienced player, he can give the ball away, especially late in games. I’ve also seen him give away costly and needless free kicks late in the game. He is slow and his free kicks/corners are very disappointing.
    His value to the team really depends on who else plays on the day. When Lucas, Can and Henderson start with him, we tend to be slow and this magnifies Milner’s weaknesses, along with theirs.

  12. Milner should go…. But so should Henderson and Chan, both are similar to Milner and both can’t score to save their lives not to mention basic passing.
    Don’t even get me started on Lucas, what is he still doing at Liverpool I don’t know, send him to Norwich or WBA will ya!

  13. Right after Hendo went down and Milner assumed the Captains role I thought his play was awful. Terrible passes, silly fouls, lousy defense and very few goal This phase lasted about six weeks. Lately I feel his play is improving although he would be better next to Hendo instead of up front. His passing is a little better and he is one of the few that can deliver a good cross albeit not often enough. His work rate is excellent. I wish he would quit taking corner kicks because his delivery is poor. Personally I feel this article is too harsh but I also think his play needs to be better and more consistent. If he fails to do that then maybe a better option is in order.

  14. Well said about the piano bit, Im a fan of players like Milner they’re warriors. Admittedly he can be better but he’s been one of our more consistent players. If anyone deserves criticism it is Lucas Leiva, what the hell is he still doin at Liverpool? ?? He offers absolutely nothing and I’ve started to hate seeing in our midfield.

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