Jurgen Klopp compares James Milner to a fine wine and invites England call-up after Liverpool draw at Arsenal

Klopp also revealed that Milner gave his Liverpool teammates a half-time dressing-down against the Gunners

Miguel Delaney
Emirates Stadium
Sunday 04 November 2018 23:30
Arsenal Manager Unai Emery: 'today was a good test' for us against Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that an “animated” James Milner gave some of his Liverpool teammates a bit of a dressing down at half-time of their 1-1 draw with Arsenal, because of how they were being overrun. The midfielder scored in another fine performance, with Klopp praising him as a “proper leader” afterwards.

The German even joked that it could lead to an England call-up again.

“The thing was that we were not compact enough in the first half and we were too high on the wings and that’s it, we could play,” Klopp explained. “The timing was… the time was not really good. If you cannot press with really no formation, you need a trigger. You have a compact formation, you force them to pass the ball somewhere, that’s pressing, it’s not that complicated.

“But actually they had two or three options to pass and that makes life pretty complicated and it makes life pretty uncomfortable for the three in midfield. That’s it. We did that already outstandingly well and that’s why it was obvious we didn’t do it so well in the first half.

“Yes and Milly [Milner] was the one who saw it first and was quite, how can we say, was not happy… Was animated. That’s good. We changed it at half time and he was the right person to score the goal at half time.

“That’s how it is in a dressing room when a lot of men, a lot of testosterone, one is talking, that’s me, and sometimes before I start talking the boys have a few words and that’s all.

“Of course he’s a leader, of course, the problem is not the three that played in midfield, they can always do better, but the best way is to do it right from the first moment and then you can build on that and we didn’t do it right from the first moment. That means there’s a time that it’s not there and we all felt like: ‘what the heck is here?’

James Milner celebrates after scoring for Liverpool against Arsenal

“Offensively, it was really good, we played football, we played behind their line, created chances and we scored a goal. That was all good. But defensively was not as good and yet we couldn’t change because we had no defensive midfielder on the bench. That means it was really difficult, because Hendo not there, then size wise, it’s slightly different, at set pieces, you have to make it organised as well so it means it’s not too cool. But Millie is a proper leader.

“Millie is like wine, I like this idea as well. A very good red one. I’m not sure if Leeds is famous for wine? He’s getting better. I think Millie should buy all of the newspapers and read this.

“I would like it if you write a story about James Milner, I will like it. Obviously someone might write that he will have to play for England again. That’s a really nice idea.”

Jordan Henderson was greatly missed in Liverpool’s midfield last Saturday 

Klopp is meanwhile pleased with Liverpool’s form, but expects a tough game away to Red Star Belgrade this week, stating it “will not be a children’s party”.

“We are good, we are in a good moment as a team, as a club, everything is fine so that’s it. Whatever we are, if we were in a bad moment we would go to Belgrade and want to win there so that’s it. Your job is to make a final of each game so if we lose at Arsenal then the whole start was average or worse. If we lose at Belgrade then it’s football, it can happen.

“We have to have to look at that a bit calmer. So it’s very important today, very, very important on Tuesday and it’s only three days ‘til we go there so it will not be a children’s party, it will be really tough and we have to be ready for that. But it’s our life, it’s not a problem, we take it and analyse and go in the next game, find the line-up, the right line up and everything is good”

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