James Milner is the Premier League’s best left-back

Ethan Tait

After Alberto Moreno showed his true footballing abilities in Liverpool’s opening match against Arsenal, James Milner took over left-back duties. But when you look at the journeyman, you see an average Englishman, who’s quite boring, not very quick, and very basic on the pitch. 

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Liverpool’s success this season is largely in part to the experience, tireless work rate, and goalscoring exploits of James Milner. Granted, all five of his goals have been from the spot, but they still hit the back of the net.

Milner does his job without the spectacular, but gets results. The Liverpool backline has been better than it has in years and Jurgen Klopp’s genius to make the Milner switch has easily saved him conceding at least 10 goals.

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According to the CIES Football observatory, the research has found that this season James Milner is the second-best fullback in football with a rating of 88 out of 100, only behind Alex Sandro of Juventus. Danny Rose? Behind the one-time-midfielder with a rating of 87.

Source: CIES Football Observatory
Source: CIES Football Observatory

James Milner allows for the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Philippe Coutinho to be creative. Milner is at the source of their brilliance because he is a no thrills kinda player. He plays simply, works hard, and doesn’t give the ball away cheaply.

Why didn’t someone convert this man into a left back years ago?

Danny Rose loves to forward and contribute in attack, but the reason Liverpool sits above Spurs in the table is James Milner. He’s the rock of Liverpool’s backline.

Despite Rose’s constant willingness to get forward, Milner is the better option.

Squawka’s stats show that Milner has a higher passing percentage (83% to 76%), key passes (27 to 19), and chances created (29 to 21). Rose has been a part of the best defence in the Premier league, but Milner has played a larger role in Liverpool’s defensive success.

Liverpool has struggled to keep a consistent CB pairing and Milner has been called upon to lead on multiple occasions. Thankfully Messi doesn’t play in the Prem or the Liverpool man would be in trouble.

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Although it pains me to say it, James Milner is the best left back in the Premier League and Liverpool should be thankful for the transition of the Englishman.

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