Liver­pool’s depth push­ing play­ers to per­form – Mil­ner

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS - BY

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.

SCOT­TISH PREMIER­SHIP: Aberdeen 2 Rangers 1, Hamil­ton 1 St John­stone 1.

AFPPIX

Liver­pool man­ager Jurgen Klopp talk­ing to James Mil­ner dur­ing their match against Hull City on Satur­day. –

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