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Milner makes ‘strange situation’ admission at Liverpool

James Milner - Liverpool
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An acute injury crisis, particularly at the back, saw the Reds’ enterprise of a successful title defense crash and burn last term.

Liverpool went from suffering a shortage of options at the heart of their defense last season to having a surplus of options in that position for the upcoming season – and that’s a “strange situation” in the eyes of James Milner.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t get to deploy his full-strength starting XI for the majority of 2020-21, owing to the overwhelming injury crisis at Anfield.

Virgil van Dijk suffered a season-ending knee injury in October while Joe Gomez picked up a similar problem a month later. Joel Matip also spent a significant amount of time on the sidelines with a variety of fitness issues.

Klopp had to call in a few academy players to fill the gaping hole left by his injured senior center-backs while the manager even resorted to putting captain Jordan Henderson in the backline.

However, Van Dijk and Gomez are expected to be fully fit for the new season while the Reds have also added the highly-rated Ibrahima Konate to their ranks.

“It’s a strange situation: you obviously go from last season not having too many centre-halves and now we’ve got top-class centre-halves all over the place! It’s fantastic,” Milner told the Liverpool website.

“Nat [Phillips] is obviously here and Davo [Ben Davies], Rhysy [Williams] obviously and all the guys in there – it’s a great standard of centre-half that we’ve got with everyone pushing each other and that’s exactly what you need.”