Jürgen Klopp insists James Milner’s outstanding early-season has come as no surprise to him – and feels nor should it to anyone else.
The 32-year-old has excelled in Liverpool’s opening six games of the campaign so far, converting two crucial goals from the penalty spot against Crystal Palace and Paris Saint-Germain.
Indeed, Milner was named man of the match for his performance against the French champions in midweek, but it’s no less than Klopp expected from his vice-captain.
“For sure, [his good form] is a bit longer and not only this season,” the manager said at his pre-Southampton press conference on Friday.
“Last year, what was it? Most assists in the Champions League was James Milner? So how can you be surprised about it when he is doing similar things?
“As I said a few times, only in football does it sound like 32 is a massive age or whatever, in all other parts of life you are still young. He is still young and a proper professional, so that means his body gives him the opportunity to do so, that’s for sure.
“But of course, it is only not him. Two weeks ago people said maybe we don’t need Jordan Henderson or whatever, then he played like he played [against PSG]. Gini Wijnaldum was maybe not lined-up anymore after we made the signings and stuff like that. They are really good boys and can still improve, that’s the good thing. Even James, he is the best example for that.
“He is really now in a position he really loves, he is a very energetic boy, very lively and likes to cover big distances, that helps of course in midfield – but he helped us as well when he played left-back. He can play football and that makes him a pretty valuable player.
“So, no, I am not surprised, of course not.”