James Milner is still going strong for Liverpool at the age of 34.
The Englishman is an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad and he was handed a start for the Reds’ Champions League curtain raiser versus Ajax last night.
Milner operated on the left of a midfield three alongside Gini Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones, delivering a typically assured performance to help secure a crucial 1-0 win for Liverpool.
The Englishman worked tirelessly to nullify Ajax’s array of exciting attackers and without him, Klopp’s side would likely not have kept a clean sheet in Amsterdam.
Milner won 16 ground duels, the most of any player on the pitch, made five interceptions – once again, more than any other player – and won 100% of his aerial duels.
But while those stats are eye-catching, they’re nothing compared to the distance covered by the age-defying midfielder in the Johan Cruijff ArenA.
After the game, a graphic appeared on social media detailing that Milner had ran 12.63km during his 90 minutes in Amsterdam, 1.3km more than his nearest teammate – which was Wijnaldum.
The guy is not only a beast, he’s a role model for all young footballers. Few players in the professional game work harder to maintain their physical fitness than Milner.
Lest we forget, this was a guy who was playing Premier League football at the age of 16 and it’s only through his lifestyle choices that he’s still operating at such a high level 18 years later.
Following the game, Milner was asked for his opinion on Jones’ performance after the Liverpool youngster was hauled off at half-time and replaced by club captain Jordan Henderson.
“He’s a very good player,” Milner replied. “I’m sure it will be the first [start] of many. He didn’t know he was playing until quite late yesterday.
“He’s a very good player. Thought he did well.
“It was no reflection on him coming off at half-time. I’m sure it will be the first of many, many European nights for him because he’s a top top player.”
A class act on and off the pitch.
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