Mil­ner a ‘proper leader’

Klopp re­veals cap­tain’s role played by vet­eran at half-time

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Soccer - Nick Miller at the Emi­rates Sta­dium

James Mil­ner was the man who scored Liver­pool’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Arse­nal on Satur­day, and, ac­cord­ing to Jür­gen Klopp, it was also the mid­fielder who of­fered some stern words to fire up his team at half-time.

Mil­ner gave Liver­pool the lead just af­ter the hour mark, only for Alexan­dre La­cazette to equalise in the lat­ter stages.

Yet while the game was a fun in­tense con­test for the neu­tral, the Liver­pool man­ager spent much of the first half in a state of ag­i­ta­tion, un­happy with what he deemed a sub­stan­dard dis­play from his team.

“You have a com­pact for­ma­tion you force [Arse­nal] to pass the ball some­where – that’s press­ing, it’s not that com­pli­cated,” said Klopp.

“The best way is to do it right from the first mo­ment, and then you can build on that, but we didn’t do it right from the first mo­ment. That means there’s a time that it’s not there and we all felt like, ‘what the heck is here?’


“Milly was the one who saw it first and was quite – how can we say, was not happy – was an­i­mated. That’s good. That’s how it is in a dress­in­groom, there is a lot of men, a lot of testos­terone. One is talk­ing – that’s me – and some­times be­fore I start talk­ing the boys have a few words and that’s all. Milly is a proper leader.”

While the sum­mer ar­rivals of Naby Keïta and Fabinho might have sug­gested the 32-year-old’s days were num­bered in the team, he has been among their best play­ers this sea­son.

Get­ting bet­ter

“Milly is like wine,” said Klopp. “A very good red one. I’m not sure if Leeds is fa­mous for wine? He’s get­ting bet­ter. I think he should buy all of the news­pa­pers and read this. I would like it if you write a story about James Mil­ner.”

Klopp then shifted from ap­pre­ci­a­tion to heavy sar­casm. “Ob­vi­ously some­one might write that he [should] play for Eng­land again. That’s a really nice idea.”

While Liver­pool were eight min­utes away from vic­tory, Klopp agreed a draw was a fair re­sult, but Mil­ner ad­mit­ted their fail­ure to win was frus­trat­ing.

“When you’re 1-0 up in a game like that you need to see it out and we didn’t do that. There are pos­i­tives.

“Com­ing away from Arse­nal and be­ing dis­ap­pointed with a draw is a pos­i­tive, and also the amount of chances we cre­ated. It’s al­ways go­ing to be tough against them.”

City’s vic­tory

The draw briefly took Liver­pool to the top of the Premier League, be­fore Manch­ester City’s vic­tory over Southamp­ton moved Pep Guardi­ola’s side two points ahead.

“Yes, and I do,” said Klopp, when asked if he has to ig­nore City’s re­lent­less ac­cu­mu­la­tion of points.

“Ac­tu­ally, I’m not in­ter­ested in how many points Man City gets.

“They have one from us [the 0-0 draw at An­field], if they get 89 more I have no in­flu­ence on that. I’m not in­ter­ested, no.”

– Guardian


Arse­nal’s Alexan­dre La­cazette (back to cam­era) sees his goal dis­al­lowed for off­side dur­ing the game against Liver­pool at the Emi­rates Sta­dium.

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