In the first edition of a new regular column on Liverpoolfc.com, former Reds midfielder Gary McAllister assesses the impressive form of James Milner, his old side's Champions League hopes, and a massive meeting with Manchester United…

On Milner’s longevity and quality…

I’m a fan. Going back to last season as well, he played the entire season at left-back; he just got on with it and was probably close to being Player of the Season, in my book. He is very consistent and his fitness levels are superb. You know exactly what you’re going to get from James, he is a very reliable player. Every time he has been asked to play, in whichever position, he always produces.

The fitness is invaluable. He has always been a fit lad. Over the years, he has played alongside some fantastic players and gathered a lot of knowledge. It’s an accumulation of that; you get to a point when you put everything together, having played in different areas of the pitch and knowing your way around the Premier League. It’s a gathering of information and knowledge over the years.

On Liverpool’s Champions League credentials…

By no means are we going to underestimate Porto, but there’ll be the ability to maybe rest players or start a strong team and get players off – that’s at the manager’s discretion.

I don’t know if many teams want to play Liverpool over a two-legged tie. I can’t believe Jürgen and the boys would fear anybody. There would be teams you want to avoid in the quarters and play them later on. But come the last eight, you’re going to play against good teams. The mentality of the teams who will be left in the last eight, they will be clubs with history and tradition of doing well in Europe, with players driven by trying to win a medal. There are a lot of good teams and I don’t think anybody will fear each other.

On Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United…

It’s a great game. In my short period at the club, it’s one of the two games you look for: Manchester United and Everton. I don’t think that will ever change, the rivalries are such. As far as form, United are still up there by points but on performance levels Liverpool are probably just nudging ahead. It’s always very close. I don’t see the decisive thing being an unforced error, I think it will be a bit of quality from one of the several good players on either side that will split the two teams. And hopefully it’s a good game.

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