11 Sep 2015

Legend insists: 'Outstanding' £31m Liverpool star must switch positions vs. Man-Utd because he's 'best' out wide

Despite spending close to £200m on transfers in the last two years, Liverpool still lack attacking players capable of providing genuine, effective width. After that gigantic cash outlay, Liverpool's only real options are misfiring teenager Jordon Ibe, and Alberto Moreno, who is being kept out of the team by another comparatively untested teenager. It's a sad state of affairs, but ahead of Liverpool's massive game against Manchester United, Reds legend John Aldridge has suggested a potential solution.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this week, Aldo mused:

"I know he [Milner] has done well in the middle so far, and been one of the bright sparks, but for this game I think Milner’s best use is out wide".

I agree with Aldo here. Milner - - whose contract is reportedly worth £31m over 4 years (£150k-a-week) - has 'done well in the middle'...if running 12km a game and providing zero attacking threat = doing well.

Milner is doing a sterling job defensively, but he has offered nothing going forward so far, and in that respect, he's no different to Lucas Leiva, who is regularly maligned for his creative paucity.

As such, if Milner is to switch position, then the obvious solution is to convert him to a DM/holding midfielder.

* This change will allow Henderson to play further forward, and allow another dynamic, attack-minded player to operate alongside him (or Can).

* Milner is already doing the job of a DM, so why not just make it official? After all, Liverpool have absolutely nothing to lose in attack by converting Milner.

* It's pointless having Milner and Henderson together, either sharing the DM role, or playing ahead of a DM, as both are too similar, and both have poor goalscoring records in the league.

* If that happened, I'd probably become Milner's biggest fan, as he has all the attributes to excel in the DM role. Plus, there'd be no expectation on the midfielder to regularly score/create goals.

In my view, Milner at DM solves so many problems, and creates space for more of the club's dedicated attacking midfielders to get regular game time.

For example, this is the team I'd pick for tomorrow (with Milner at DM, and assuming Henderson is out):

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Lovren ---- Moreno
-------------- Milner
--- Origi ----- Can ----- Firmino
----------- Ings - Benteke

With everyone fit:

-------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Skrtel -- Lovren -- Moreno
-------------- Milner
-- Coutinho - Henderson - Firmino
------ Sturridge -- Benteke

In theory, that front five is one of the most exciting attacking units in Europe, and having Milner at DM means that Rodgers can fit Coutinho, Firmino, Hendo, Sturridge, and Benteke into the same team. If Liverpool go with Hendo/Milner ahead of, say, Lucas, then one of Coutinho, Firmino, or Sturridge will have to drop to the bench.

Having Milner in the team reduces Liverpool's attacking effectiveness, and that, in a nutshell, is the main objection I have to his transfer. If he scores/creates goals on a regular basis then it's less of an issue, but that isn't the case, either now or in the past.

As such, the only viable solution is convert Milner to a DM. It's the best solution for the balance of the team, and if he doesn't like it, tough luck.

Author: Jaimie K


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