Signing James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City in June 2015 was an absolute masterstroke by Liverpool.
Some football fans mocked Liverpool at the time, believing Milner was an average-at-best player who would do little to enhance the Reds’ chances of winning silverware.
They couldn’t have been more wrong.
Milner has been worth his weight in gold for the Merseyside outfit, despite his advancing years.
Like a fine wine, he seems to be getting better and better with age.
This is all down to the way Milner dedicates himself to his profession. A manager’s dream, it’s hard to think of a better professional in the Premier League.
The 33-year-old has been keeping himself fit ahead of the 2019/20 season with some long runs in Spain in recent days.
And on Saturday he was back at Melwood for the start of pre-season training.
Although not all of the squad are back yet - Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, for example, are all away on international duty - Jurgen Klopp took the opportunity to see where the rest of his players are at in terms of fitness after a one-month break.
The players in training on Saturday - including Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabinho - were forced to take part in the dreaded lactate test, which is designed to measure the players’ aerobic endurance.
Many Liverpool fans expected Milner to win it - he won the fitness test this time last year - and he didn’t disappoint.
Milner found himself up against 22-year-old Joe Gomez in the final lap - but the former England international had enough gas in the tank to cross the line in first place.
Watch the video here (click play on the black box)...
What a machine.
Milner received a round of applause from those present. They know the midfield workhorse has a big role to play in Liverpool’s upcoming season.
While there are many players at the top level with more ability than Milner, it’s hard to think of a better team player.
This point was recently made by the former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who hailed Milner as one of the world’s best team players.
"Neymar and Messi, I like them as individual players, not as team players,” the Dutchman told reporters. “I believe that in collective games there is nothing more important than the team player.
"One of the best is James Milner. In the final of the Champions League he played as a defender and as a midfielder. It's great that he can offer that at 33."News Now - Sport News