Top 10 Premier League stars of 2018: Liverpool's James Milner

James Milner continues to play a key role under Jurgen Klopp

milner

Milner has been a talismanic figure for Jurgen Klopp's side, shining in an unfamiliar right-back role and also impressing in central midfield and elsewhere when called upon.

Liverpool's summer transfer activity was expected to knock him down the pecking order this season, but at the age of 32 he continues to play a key role for the side.

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What do the stats say?

Milner has made 30 Premier League appearances over the course of the year, scoring three goals and providing three assists despite primarily playing out of position at right-back.

James Milner's 2018 PL stats

  • 30 appearances
  • 49 tackles
  • 142 ball recoveries
  • 34 chances created

The former Manchester City player has made important contributions at both ends of the pitch and his importance to all areas of Liverpool's game is shown by the fact that he ranks among their top five players for both passes and chances created and tackles and interceptions.

There was also a notable appearance milestone. In Liverpool's recent win over Bournemouth, Milner became only the 13th player to reach 500 Premier League appearances. "He is a machine," said his Liverpool team-mate Georginio Wijnaldum.

Mohamed Salah celebrates his second goal with Virgil van Dijk 2:47
Highlights from Liverpool's win over Bournemouth

What were his highlights?

The 500th appearance was an undoubted highlight, with hat-trick hero Mohamed Salah insisting on giving him his man-of-the-match award live on Sky Sports after the game.

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James Milner put Liverpool in front at the Emirates on Saturday - but they were pegged back and fell two points behind Man City
Image: Milner scored in Liverpool's recent 1-1 draw with Arsenal

Milner's most memorable moments of the year, however, came during last season's Champions League campaign.

He was named man of the match in the first leg of Liverpool's quarter-final win over Manchester City, playing an important role in all three first-half goals as they blew Pep Guardiola's men away.

Milner's total of nine assists over the course of the competition was a Champions League record, highlighting his enduring value to Klopp's side and showing he is much more than just a midfield engine.

What's the pundit verdict?

"He's the most remarkable player," Charlie Nicholas tells Sky Sports. "If I'm being totally frank, I had serious doubts about whether he was going to be able to play in midfield for Liverpool. I thought he would be a bit-part player. Now I think he's a must to start just about every game. He's so reliable.

He's the most consistent and versatile player I've seen in the last 10 to 15 years.
Charlie Nicholas

"His energy levels are absolutely magnificent and he's economical with his distribution. He's cool at penalties. He's not a flash guy. He knows what he is. He wins the ball and he comes out on top of more creative players than him. I just think it works so well for him.

"There's nothing better than seeing superstar footballers but this guy is just good at everything. He's two-footed, composed, and aggressive when he needs to be. He can play right-back, left-back, you could probably play him at centre-back if you had to. He's the most consistent and versatile player I've seen in the last 10 to 15 years."

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