InterviewJames Milner on Wolves clash, utilising experience, fighting spirit and more

By Peter Lennox


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James Milner has called on Liverpool to deliver a "fighting performance" at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, insisting the Reds’ togetherness will be key to embarking on a positive run of form.

Milner added he is convinced the squad boasts the strength of character to emerge from a challenging spell and "make something of this season".

Saturday’s match will see Liverpool travel to Molineux for the second time in quick succession, with Jürgen Klopp’s side having earned a 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay win at Wolves on January 17.

If the Reds are to emerge victorious again on this occasion, Milner says Liverpool must blend quality with resilience and determination.

“It's down to us put in a good performance, a fighting performance,” the 37-year-old told

“Wolves will give us a tough test. We've experienced that pretty recently, it's never an easy place to play. It's a good atmosphere to play in and the fans get behind their team.

Training photos: Reds prepare for visit to Wolves

PhotosTraining photos: Reds prepare for visit to WolvesLiverpool's preparations for this weekend's trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers continued at the AXA Training Centre on Thursday afternoon.

“Hopefully we can play well and create lots of chances. But sometimes, when things aren't going quite so well, the best performances are when you dig in, keep a clean sheet and get an ugly away win. That can give you so much.

"It's at times like this where we need the team spirit we've built over the past few years. The togetherness is still there and there's never any pointing fingers [within the squad]. It's about what we can do together and that’s how we’ve won trophies and been successful as a team.

“We will go through hard times as a team. There's disappointment, obviously. The fans will be disappointed as well as people around the club. But we said it when we were successful and it's the same now – nobody puts more pressure on us than ourselves.

“We need to be better in a lot of areas, and we’ll keep pushing to do that. We know this squad is capable of going on big runs and making something of this season. We need to do that by sticking together and working hard.”

Milner believes there have been reasons for encouragement in recent games, pointing to maturity shown by 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic in central midfield and Cody Gakpo’s impressive all-round display at Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend.

“You see people like Stefan coming into the team and doing very well, and it's important we protect those guys and make sure people like him keep doing what they're doing,” Milner added. “It's important we keep that positivity.

“It's easy to be very down and look at all the negatives when you aren't getting results you want, but it's important to highlight things that are good as well. At Brighton, I thought Cody was outstanding. He's obviously desperate to get on the scoresheet, but I thought his performance in the game was outstanding.

Watch: Inside Training as Reds prepare for Wolves

“It's important that doesn't get lost because, if you're not acknowledging the good things you're doing, it's going to be hard to get the momentum and the confidence to get on a roll.”

Read on for the remainder of Milner’s interview…

On his assessment of Liverpool’s season so far…

We’re not where we'd want to be. If you compare it to last season, when we were competing for every single trophy and pushing right to the end to win all four, then it’s obviously a contrast. We know we can play a lot better. It's a situation we want to improve and we're working hard to do that. There are a lot of things to overcome, with injuries and things like that. That's football and you have to deal with it, and we can be dealing with it better than we are now. Performances can be better but we'll fight to try to improve our current situation. We're halfway through the Premier League season and there's a lot of points to play for. We’ll look at ourselves and what we can do better.

On how his experience helps him deal with difficult spells of results…

As you get older, you learn to keep that even keel the whole time. It's important when you're being successful you don't get too carried away with yourself, it's about being level-headed and continuing in that way. It's the same when things aren't going well. If you get too down and over-analyse some things, you can cause problems. The goal is always the same. We’ve always taken it one game at a time, preparing for each match and trying to improve and look at how we can improve as a team and move forward.

On his role as senior player in the dressing room…

It's a fine line and a balance between knowing when it's the right time to be geeing people up or having a bit of a go, and other times when people need an arm around them. It’s about how much we can help each other by putting messages across in terms of where we can improve. The biggest thing is showing we're in it together.

On sustaining a level of positivity in the dressing room…

It's about understanding what we can improve on, what things are good and what things aren't that far off [from being at the required level]. We have to do that together, not get too down about things, and keep pushing and working hard. There have been some things in the recent performances which have been a lot better than they were six weeks ago – and other aspects which could be better. When you look at the quality of the players we have, the young guys coming through as well, there is a lot of quality there. You can see that in some of the performances we've put in this season and, obviously, last season as well. It's not a massively different team. It's football, it's sport, and you have to be at the top of your game in every single match all year round. You have spells when that doesn't happen and it's about how we deal with that situation.

Over recent years, we've had absolutely fantastic seasons and we've had seasons where we've had to dig in and really make something out of it. You go back to Ali's header to get us in the Champions League… We've experienced most situations together as a group. I think that's important and will help us come through this season.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.