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James Milner optimistic he can return against Manchester City

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James Milner is hopeful he can return to action for Liverpool's match against Manchester City following the international break.

The 29-year-old was forced to miss his side's 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace last Sunday with a hamstring problem and also deemed himself unavailable for England's friendlies against Spain and France.

The Reds travel to league leaders Manchester City on November 21 and Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to have his senior players at the ready for the match.

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Milner, who moved to Liverpool from the Etihad during the summer on a free transfer, is working his way back to full fitness at Melwood and is optimistic that he can be ready to face Manuel Pellegrini's men.

“It’s always disappointing to miss any games - and obviously missing last weekend and the England games is disappointing," he told Liverpool's official website.

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“It shouldn’t be too long and hopefully I’ll be back for the next game, but we’ll have to wait and see.

“You never like to put a timeframe on it because it’s a hamstring and they’re always difficult and a bit unpredictable, but hopefully I’ll be alright.

“It’s disappointing, but these things happen and hopefully I’ll be back soon.”

Midfield Shortage

Klopp has been damned with injuries since he took the helm at Anfield last month, and will be left with a daunting task against the Citizens if he is also without Milner.

The Reds have been without captain Jordan Henderson since September and against Crystal Palace, there was a real lack of presence in the centre of the park.

Emre Can is one for the future and has been handed a significant amount of responsibility, but he still has a lot to learn if he is to fulfil his potential. The German was rash against Palace - wasteful in possession and struggled to gain a stranglehold on the match.

Lucas has become part of the key set-up under the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager. However, he is limited going forward and is not the sort of player who will turn something out of nothing and get much-needed results for the Reds.

Although Milner has not produced any fireworks since his move to Anfield, his experience in a youthful team is priceless and the England ace always gives 110%. In tough away games, his work-rate is incomparable and is exactly what a manager desires.

Who Will Replace Milner?

If the former Leeds United man does not beat the clock in time to face City on Saturday, it's likely that Joe Allen will be his replacement.

Allen has flattered to deceive since his £15 million move from Swansea City in 2012 and, with Brendan Rodgers now out of the picture, his time may be up at Anfield, especially with the January transfer window looming.

However, he possesses vital first-team experience and Klopp lacks options to replace Milner. It would be unfair to throw in the likes of Cameron Brannagan into the team against a top-class side.

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Topics:
Premier League
Steven Gerrard
James Milner
Liverpool
Football

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