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James Milner discusses new left-back role at Liverpool

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James Milner has been regarded as somewhat of a utility man for a while now.

If there is a position in the team that needs filling Milner is the guy to go to - everyone knows 'he'll do a job' if you need him to.

But this season he isn't just having to do a job, he's learning a brand new position.

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Alberto Moreno's continued troubles at left-back has forced manager Jurgen Klopp to call upon Mr Reliable to fill in against Burnley and Tottenham.

And his performances in those two matches suggest Milner is still a working progress in defence, however, he has asked for patience from the supporters while he adapts to the new role.

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“There are pluses and minuses to it," Milner told the Liverpool Echo.

“All my career being in the midfield or higher up than that you have got people behind you. You are working in pairs when you play further up but you are more of a unit when you are playing at left-back.

“You need to be aware of where your centre-backs are so you are not the deepest man, all these things.

“It’s new for me and I’m learning as fast as I can. Hopefully, I can keep the mistakes to a minimum and do what I can for the team."

It must be a bit of a concern for Reds fans as Klopp has now overseen two transfer windows but remains forced to use a makeshift left-back.

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It is certainly going to take more than just a couple of matches before the recently retired England international becomes comfortable in his new position and Milner has had to spend extra time studying up.

He added: “I’ve played a lot on the left in my career and would rather play left-back than right-back so that does not affect me.

“It’s more learning the position from training and watching videos after the game, looking at distances from the centre-half, getting out to the wide man quickly, things like that.

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“It is a bit irrelevant to speak to someone who has played there in the past as the way that this manager plays is very different to a left-back say five years ago."

Without the burden of international football, Milner has got a couple of precious weeks to finesse his positioning before he faces Riyad Mahrez when Leicester come to Anfield on September 10.

Dropping points against Burnley and Tottenham has taken the gloss off the 4-3 win over Arsenal on the opening day and means they are already playing catch up to get into the top four this season.

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Topics:
Steven Gerrard
Alberto Moreno
Football
Liverpool
Premier League
James Milner

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