James Milner, Time To Say Goodbye?
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.
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.
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.