Liverpool's James Milner has won club's brutal lactate test every year

Liverpool's James Milner

James Milner and the rest of the Liverpool squad have returned to pre-season today (Monday 4th July) as they prepare for the 2022/23 season.

We’ve singled out Milner because he’s the king of Liverpool’s pre-season. The veteran doesn’t drink alcohol and keeps himself in brilliant shape throughout the summer.

The 36-year-old has signed a new one-year contract at the club that will keep him at Anfield for the duration of the upcoming campaign.

But despite his age, Milner will be the man to beat once again in pre-season. We recently brought you his running stats from pre-season last year and how he ran 8.5km in 34 minutes!

But he’s also won the notorious lactate test every year that he’s been at Liverpool.

What is the lactate test?

The test measures a player’s aerobic endurance as they’re tasked to run increasing distances at speed. At the end of each checkpoint, a sample of blood is taken from each player’s ear to measure their lactic acid level. If they level is too high, they have to drop out. Last man standing wins.

In 2019, Joe Gomez pushed Milner to the end but he was no match for the midfielder.

Andy Robertson on Liverpool’s pre-season training

Andy Robertson was asked about pre-season on the Peter Crouch podcast, where he admitted he’ll never see another player quite as fit as Milner.

β€œWe are a fit team, there are a lot of players who have great engines – Hendo, Gini, Robbo. But Milly, I don’t think I’ll ever see anyone as fit as him,” Robertson said.

β€œI remember a few years ago Kev Stewart would give him a run for his money in pre-season. But considering his age and how long he’s played for, to still be the fittest player in arguably the fittest team in the world, and by some margin, that takes some doing.”

Liverpool Training and Press Conference

Robertson also recalled his first day at the club and how the lactate test made him throw-up!

“The day I signed we got the tour of the stadium and stuff and that is when it really hits home. But I remember my first day, there was only six or seven of us because it was pre-season, so only a few of us in and Danny Ings was just coming back from long-term injury,” he said.

“So he stayed behind and we had to do the lactate test that the Germans love, it’s basically running to your maximum. I remember running alongside Danny Ings and I was just sick everywhere! Actually physically sick. [With the test] they set up poles around the pitch and you have to make each pole on the whistle but then it gets faster and faster.

Liverpool Training Session

“My medical took two days so I didn’t really eat, so I put it down to that and I was tired. Ingsy was talking to me on the way round and I could just feel it, I knew something wasn’t right. I tried to hold it in my mouth and I just had to let it go. It was terrible. Day one!

“Luckily the gaffer (Klopp) wasn’t there and I thought I’d got away with it and he returned three days later and introduced himself, blah blah blah, and then he called me Mr Sick Boy or something like that. I was gutted!”

Can anyone beat a 36-year-old Milner in the lactate test this year? Surely he can’t win it again…

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