Following the arrivals of Fabinho and Naby Keita for big fees this summer and with only a year left on his contract, James Milner could be forgiven for thinking that at 32 years of age he could be heading into his final season at Anfield as a Liverpool player.
Yet, with his first performance of the season against West Ham on Sunday, he showed why he deserves to be indispensable within Jurgen Klopp’s selection.
Picking up the man of the match award, despite Sadio Mane’s brace, Milner produced one of his finest performances in a red shirt yet and proved to Klopp why he needs to remain in the line-up.
His display was so impressive in fact that he topped seven key statistics which were fundamental to his impressive display, both in defence and attack as he produced an all round display which impressed all of those watching.
Most touches (122 touches)
No-one had a greater influence on play than the former England international.
Most passes (completed 95 from 102 attempts)
Playing in a deeper midfield role, he dictated play and was always looking to connect with the midfielders around him and forwards further ahead.
Most chances created (three)
Despite not playing as advanced a role as some of his team-mates, he was still crucial in attack.
“Last year was a long season and with the World Cup boys coming back in with such a short rest, they have done well. I’ve done it before and know how hard it is. It has benefited me [having the summer off].”
Most distance covered (12.55 kilometres)
A real workhorse, no-one can question his commitment and fitness levels and it proved to be the case again even in the first competitive fixture of the season.
Most attacking third passes (completed 25 from 28 attempts)
Milner was not just stat-padding with his passes, but was contributing to making a real impact in attack and was clinical in doing so.
Most crosses (completed three from seven attempts)
The distance covered reflects his mobility as he often drifted wide and looked to provide balls into the box.
Most defensive aerial duels (won one from two)
The midfielder did his fare share of tracking back too, looking to win his battles.