The fierce battle for places in the Liverpool team is pushing every player to perform at their maximum level, according to James Milner.
A fourth successive victory in all competitions was secured against Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon as the Reds struck five goals at Anfield.
Milner got two of them, both from the penalty spot, while Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho added their name to the scoresheet during another encouraging display.
The vice-captain had spoken before the match about his sense that this season feels ‘a bit different’ with regards to Liverpool’s potential to mount a challenge in the division.
And, after the 5-1 result over the Tigers was confirmed, he explained how the knowledge that a teammate is ready and waiting to step up is inspiring those currently in the starting XI.
“You look down the squad list and the quality is unbelievable,” Milner told Liverpoolfc.com.
“You see the bench and some boys have been injured, some players aren’t in the squad, and the young boys who are knocking around the squad with such quality. It’s pleasing.
“And you know if you don’t perform, the shirt is going to be taken off you and someone else is going to get the chance. And you don’t know how long they are going to have that shirt for.
“You need that competition for places to drive each other on. Hopefully we can keep improving as a team.”
Watch more from Milner's post-match interview on LFCTV GO
The Englishman’s successful double from 12 yards maintained his 100 per cent record on penalties since joining the club last summer.
He added: “It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet.
“Hopefully they keep going in, that’s the main thing. With the dribblers we’ve got in the team, when they get in the box you can’t really touch them.
“We have to train against these boys and with the feet they have got it’s pretty difficult at times. Hopefully the penalties keep going in.”
The Reds’ attacking play was again sparkling on many occasions, as a fluid forward line interchanged with the supporting midfielders to prise open the Hull defence.
Milner and Nathaniel Clyne offered width high up their respective flanks and Jordan Henderson, along with the central defensive pairing of Ragnar Klavan and Joel Matip, ensured there was little opportunity for the visitors to counter.
“I thought it was a really good performance,” said the No.7. “We created chances and looked really solid.
“The boys at the back were brilliant. The two centre-halves, when the ball was popping out, their positioning was fantastic and they kept us on the attack. Hendo as well, with the second ball.
“Even when we were well up, we kept moving the ball easy and quickly and looking for that pass rather than always trying to force it. I thought that was pleasing.
“The amount of quality players we’ve got in there, give them the chances and they’re going to take them.”
Opta stats: Milner's performance against Hull