I’ve found myself enjoying my football again in midfield, says Liverpool’s James Milner
Liverpool midfielder James Milner admits he is enjoying his football again after a frustrating start to the campaign.
The 31-year-old was a regular filling in at left-back last season but having been told by Jurgen Klopp in the summer he would revert to a midfield role, chances have been limited.
However, he has started the last three matches and is expected to make that four in a row against Maribor in the Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday.
Regular football has put a smile back on his face and Milner hopes it stays that way.
“Last season I was asked to do a job and I did that as well as I could. I said I didn’t enjoy playing there but the team comes first,” he said.
“I’ve definitely found myself enjoying my football again playing in midfield.
“I played there (midfield) in training but there is nothing like playing in games.
“At the start of the season the manager pulled me in and said he was looking at me in midfield, which I was obviously delighted with.
“(It has been) very frustrating. Every player wants to play football and that is what I want to do.
“The manger picks the team and if it isn’t happening you have to try to force your way in, and when you do get the chance you have to take it.
“I’ve played the last three games. We have so many games but as an individual you just want to get that chance to perform.
“As a player, you just want that chance to be able to show it.”
Liverpool destroyed Maribor 7-0 a fortnight ago and while neither Milner nor Klopp are expecting repeat performances, the former said when they got it right their play was “devastating”.
“We have shown glimpses but we’ve had injuries and I think we are waiting for it to click,” the midfielder added.
“When we showed it in Maribor it was pretty devastating. We have to be on top of our game, set the tempo and come out all guns blazing.”
Klopp will not field a weakened side against the visitors just because of the result in Slovenia.
“I can imagine what people think after results like this and after 7-0 a lot of people wouldn’t respect Maribor,” he said.
“The result was not one per cent of our analysis. Our aim is to go through this group stage.
“I think Anfield always should be a fortress so that means we have to win our home games.”
Klopp will make a late decision on the fitness of defender Dejan Lovren, who missed Saturday’s win over Huddersfield with a thigh problem in the warm-up.
The centre-back, whose recent performances have drawn criticism, has had more issues to deal with, however, after receiving death threats on social media which he has branded “disgusting”.
Lovren posted a message he had received on Instagram from a user which read “I’m gonna murder ur family u Croatian p****”.
The 28-year-old captioned it with “horrible what kind of people we have” before adding in a second image: “I don’t mind when people talk s*** about me, it says more about them!
“But I cannot ignore when my family is threatened. I just can’t and won’t accept that. Disgusting.”
Liverpool are not commenting on the situation although it is understood the club takes the security and well-being of their players and families very seriously, and will offer the centre-back all the support he requires, should he need it.