Liverpool’s acquisition of James Milner on a free transfer is one that looks like a very good deal. Milner has vast experience, internationally, in the Premier League and also in Europe. His work rate is exemplary and throughout his career has shown he can play in almost any position.
For Milner the move makes sense, he wants to get more game time and specifically more time in the centre of the park. Milner is, at this time anyway, a shoe-in for the England squad for the Euros and he will be hoping he can show he deserves to be in the starting line-up.
It’s strange that City couldn’t make promises to give Milner more time, Fabian Delph has been signed as his replacement but whether he is an improvement is another question. Milner had his best goal scoring season since 2010/11 when he was at Aston Villa, as he scored five goals. He also provided seven assists, again his highest total since his move to City.
Milner scored more goals than Nasri and Dzeko in the last season and provided as many assists as David Silva. Liverpool will be hoping he can replicate that kind of form at Anfield. In fact Milner provided more assists than Lallana and Coutinho last season and with a consistent run in the side you’d expect Milner to surpass that total.
In many ways you know what you’ll get from James Milner, he’ll always put in the effort and he’s very consistent. He doesn’t catch the eye in the way that someone like Coutinho or Silva does but based on last season there’s evidence that Milner can provide Liverpool with much more that hard graft. Milner is someone who’s technical abilities are still underrated, I think there’s a tendency to overlook those qualities in his game.
A midfield of Jordan Henderson and James Milner will have plenty of energy and commitment but will be one that can also be a creative force and provide both chances and goals.
Statistics courtesy of whoscored.com