The ease with which Andy Robertson has adapted to life at Liverpool both on and off the pitch has impressed James Milner.
Following a stop-start beginning to his Reds career after his summer transfer from Hull City, the left-back has now firmly established himself as a vital member of Jürgen Klopp’s squad.
An injury sustained by Alberto Moreno in early December afforded Robertson the opportunity to play regularly, and he has responded with a series of consistent performances.
The Scotland international continued his superb form in the 5-0 victory over Watford last time out, with the Anfield crowd once again singing his name after he’d provided an inch-perfect cross for Mohamed Salah to score the second of his four goals on the day.
And Milner, who performed as Liverpool’s left-back with aplomb for much of 2016-17, thinks his teammate deserves credit for how he’s settled at Anfield.
“I don’t think he needs a lot [of advice] - he has played the position a lot longer than my one season there. But, yes, it’s my job as an ‘elder statesman’ to speak to the younger guys,” the Reds’ vice-captain told Premier League Productions.
“He is still young and learning. Coming to a club like Liverpool can sometimes be a big change and overawing, but he has come in and done a great job. He had to bide his time at the start. He and Alberto are pushing each other for that spot.
“Robbo has been brilliant. I’ll help where I can but he’s a good player - he has shown that going forward and defensively as well. Sometimes you just see him going forward but he does some great work defensively as well.
“He is a great lad to have around the dressing room. He is similar to how he plays on the pitch, a bubbly character. We love that as a group, it’s fantastic.”
Milner went on to explain that Klopp’s system and philosophy means that the team’s full-backs are expected to contribute offensively as well as defensively - something Robertson has excelled at.
“I didn’t see loads and loads of him before. I knew of him, but you don’t really appreciate a player until you see him up close,” the No.7 continued.
“With the quality he has going forward - the runs he makes and his quality into the box as well - he is a big player for us. The way we play, full-back is an important position.
“Coming to Liverpool, it’s not always easy to hit the ground running. Sometimes it takes you a season or 18 months to show your best form, so I’ve been impressed with how he has fitted in. But that’s credit to the environment that the boys make in the dressing room, and the club and the manager as well.
“Look at Mo [Salah] as well, coming in and hitting the ground running. I’ve changed clubs before and I know the first season is not easy, even if it is the same country.
“It is new surroundings and it’s not always easy to hit your form straight away. The boys who have come in have done brilliantly and that’s massive credit to them and also the boys in the dressing room.”
Milner's 2017-18 Premier League stats
With Klopp able to choose from two specialist left-backs in Robertson and Moreno, Milner has reverted to the more familiar surroundings of central midfield this term - where he is competing with Jordan Henderson, Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana for game time.
“When you are in and out of the team it is not as easy to get momentum, which I think is the biggest thing. When you’re playing week in, week out you get used to the people around you and get up to top speed and the match sharpness,” the former England international said.
“When you’re in and out, it’s a bit harder.
“I’ve played [in midfield] for the majority of my career; I always feel my strengths are going forward. With the style of play, it’s good to be involved in. I just want to keep contributing to Liverpool as much as I can, put in performances and enjoy my football.”