Liverpool’s depth pushing players to perform – Milner
LIVERPOOL’S strength in depth has driven the players to push harder for first-team places in the knowledge that manager Jurgen Klopp will not hesitate to drop underperformers, according to James Milner.
Milner, who has been deployed in a defensive role this season under Klopp, converted two penalties as the Merseyside club thrashed 10-man Hull City 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
“You look down the squad list and the quality is unbelievable,” Milner told the club’s website (liverpoolfc.com).
“You see the bench and some boys have been injured, some players aren’t in the squad, and the young boys who are knocking around the squad with LEICESTER CITY manager Claudio Ranieri has said that the side have lost some of the spark that saw them claim their extraordinaryPremier League title last season and are failing to “show their best.”
The side’s 4-1 defeat at Old Trafford on Saturday means that they have already lost more away games this season than in the entirety of their triumphant 2015/16 campaign and in the aftermath of defeat, Ranieri said he could not even think about this week’s Champions League tie with Porto because of it.
“Defending the title is not difficult. You just have to show your best,” he said. “This year is totally different, not because the other teams know us better but because it is not [been] possible [for us] to make the same [level.] When we concede a goal why do such quality.
“You need that competition for places to drive each other on. Hopefully we can keep improving as a team.”
The five-times European champions are fourth on the table on 13 points after six games, having also beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and champions Leicester City and drawn with Tottenham Hotspur while their only defeat has come against the promoted Burnley.
“If you don’t perform, the shirt is going to be taken off you and someone else is going to get the chance,” Milner added as his team prepare for a clash with Swansea on Saturday.
“And you don’t know how long they are going to have that shirt for.” – Reuters we switch off. That for me is the more important thing. But we want to fight. We can lose a match but it is important to lose when you are satisfied you have made the maximum and [against United] we didn’t make the maximum.”
Though Tuesday’s game against the Portuguese side is certain to be accompanied by an intense atmosphere at the King Power Stadium, the side have slipped to 11th in the Premier League table with top eight sides Chelsea and Tottenham to come next month.
Leicester’s defender Danny Simpson said that new rules on shirt tugging in the area from corners – with referees told to clamp down – had affected the side, who conceded three of their four goals at Old Trafford from corners.
“I have to be careful what I say,” he said. “It is in your mind, yes, we have seen a few decisions this season. It is something we have to learn to adapt to as players. They have changed the rules. The way it was last season, I thought we were very good at defending set pieces and we made it tough for the opponents and you have been doing that for all your career and suddenly you have got to change it, but it’s the same for everyone, it’s something we have got to work on and look at.
“It’s something we are going to have to adapt to and I am sure we will look at it and work out the best way because that can’t happen again.
“But in any game, whether it’s at Old Trafford or wherever, you can’t concede three goals in ten minutes from set pieces and we were already 1-0 down, we are all as disappointed as each other.” – The Independent LIGUE 1: Saint-Etienne 3 Lille 1, Nancy 0 Nice 1, Marseille 2 Nantes 1.
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp talking to James Milner during their match against Hull City on Saturday. –