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Was James Milner's Position During Liverpool's Porto Win A Jurgen Klopp Message To FSG Ahead Of AFCON?

LFCTransferRoom
LFCTransferRoom
 2021-11-25

After coming on as a sub in Liverpool's 2-0 win against Porto, James Milner played in a false nine role. This has left people wondering if manager Jurgen Klopp was dropping a hint to owners FSG about his lack of options when the AFCON kicks off in January 2022.

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Klopp's men were not at their best on Wednesday but still managed to run out comfortable winners thanks to a wonder strike from Thiago and a well taken goal from Mohamed Salah.

The Reds ended the game with a front three of Takumi Minamino (right), Divock Origi (left) and Milner (false nine) after Salah, Sadio Mane and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had left the pitch to standing ovations.

Diogo Jota remained on the bench and was not risked after a heavy knock to his knee against Arsenal and Roberto Firmino is still sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Whilst Klopp may have just been wanting to get Milner minutes anywhere on the pitch, he could easily have subbed Neco Williams or Tyler Morton but instead threw the retired international into attack.

In all likeliness he was just shuffling the pack and wanted to keep the two youngsters on the pitch for the game's entirety but there is certainly a concern about strength in depth as AFCON approaches.

Whether Milner in attack is a sign of things to come or just coincidence, Klopp will be reviewing his options ahead of the competition starting.

Liverpool will lose their two main goalscorers, Salah and Mane for a period which could be five weeks or more depending on how their respective nations fair.

That would leave Klopp with first choice options in Firmino and Jota plus Minamino or Origi as the option for the third spot. Oxlade-Chamberlain could also fill in if required

Salah and Mane already have 26 goals between them so far this season in all competitions so whoever comes in will need to contribute immediately and in good quantities if Liverpool want to continue to fight for the biggest trophies.

Author Verdict

Bringing in an established forward who can hit the ground running in January is essential for Liverpool to continue their good form.

I am not convinced that there is sufficient firepower without Salah and Mane to continue to win games on a consistent basis and that is before we take into account injuries.

Do I expect James Milner to be thrown into attack? No, but it's quite possible Klopp was just sending a little message to his bosses ahead of the transfer window.

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