James Pearce predicts Liverpool's midfield vs Real Madrid

Liverpool midfielder James Milner

Journalist James Pearce has shared which Liverpool midfielders he thinks will start against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. 

During Liverpool's most recent Premier League victory over Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp went with Thiago, James Milner and Fabinho in midfield. 

However, The Athletic's Liverpool correspondent Pearce believes that only two of these players will retain their spot for the Reds' Champions League clash with Madrid. 

What did Pearce say?

In The Athletic's discussion page, Pearce responded to a fan who was surprised to see Thiago play 90 minutes against Arsenal and wondered whether he'd feature on Tuesday night. 

"I'd expect the midfield on Tuesday to be Fabinho, Thiago, and Wijnaldum," the journalist replied. 

No room for Milner vs Real Madrid

The reporter believes that Milner won't make the cut against Madrid, as he thinks Klopp will select Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum instead. 

Milner, who takes home £140,000 per week, provided a solid performance during Liverpool's 3-0 victory on Saturday. The Englishman was awarded a WhoScored rating of 7.2, having recorded an 89% pass completion rate and won two aerial duels

However, the reporter seems to think that this wasn't enough to guarantee Milner a starting spot at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Is Wijnaldum the better choice? 

Based upon WhoScored statistics, only Andy Robertson has featured more frequently than the Dutch international in the Premier League for Liverpool this season. 

The 30-year-old has started 27 games and provided an element of consistency in the Liverpool starting XI, which broadly speaking has been somewhat of an issue for the club.

Although fitness has never been much of a problem for Milner, Wijnaldum is the younger option with more natural energy and statistically speaking, he offers Liverpool more control of possession. 

On average, he's completed 13 more passes per game than Milner in the Premier League this season. He also averages more shots, key passes and dribbles - although the differences are pretty marginal. 

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What is Milner's role in the Liverpool squad?

Ever since his arrival at the club in 2015, Milner has been an excellent servant to Liverpool and has been a key figure in the team. 

However, at 35 years old, it certainly seems that Milner now operates as a rotational member of the squad. He's only started 16 games this season.

Klopp may have had one eye on Tuesday's clash with Madrid in the lead-up to the Arsenal game and taken it as an opportunity to provide a well-needed rest for one of Liverpool's regulars.

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