Jurgen Klopp Compares James Milner to 'A Very Good Red' Wine After Arsenal Draw

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 5, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03:  James Milner of Liverpool celebrates after he scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on November 3, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has lauded midfielder James Milner and compared the 32-year-old to "a very good red" wine after he scored the opener in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Arenal.

More than two years have passed since Milner retired from England's national team, but Klopp joked his performance at the Emirates Stadium was a sign he could still represent the Three Lions, per Sky Sports:

"Milly is like wine—a very good red one. I'm not sure if Leeds is famous for wine? He's getting better.


"I think Millie should buy all of the newspapers and read this.

"I would like it if you write a story about James Milner, I will like it. Obviously, someone might write that he will have to play for England again. That's a really nice idea."

Saturday's showdown between top-four contenders also provided a landmark moment for the oldest member of Liverpool's squad, who has proved immensely valuable after arriving for free in 2015, per Sky Sports Statto:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

James Milner: 50th PL goal (in 496th PL app) 1st goal that hasn't been a penalty since March 2016 (last 10 goals had been pens) Only 2nd goal in 31 career apps v Arsenal https://t.co/YdYihKlqBE

Klopp also singled out "proper leader" Milner for praise after spotting Liverpool weren't applying their usual press as vigorously in the first half at the Emirates: 

"Milly was the one who saw it first and was quite—how can we say, was not happy—was animated. That's good. That's how it is in a dressing room, there is a lot of men, a lot of testosterone.

"One is talking—that's me—and sometimes before I start talking the boys have a few words and that's all. Milly is a proper leader."

Milner turns 33 in January and is playing in his 17th Premier League campaign, having debuted for hometown club Leeds United in November 2002 when he was only 16. He's become renowned for his longevity, and it's been 13 years since he made fewer than 35 appearances in a campaign.

The veteran was well-placed at the edge of the box to fire home the breakthrough goal after Arsenal stopper Bernd Leno could only parry the ball into his path.

Arsenal eventually got their equaliser through Alexandre Lacazette, although Klopp was left riled after a Sadio Mane goal was wrongly ruled out for offside, per Sky Sports.

It was a decent enough result for the Reds in north London considering Unai Emery's men are now unbeaten in 14 matches, and Milner left a good portion of the blame with his own team:

Liverpool FC @LFC

'We could have been more ruthless' @JamesMilner left Emirates Stadium frustrated but argued that feeling in itself is a positive for #LFC to take.

Milner's only spell outside the top flight came in the form of a month-long loan at Swindon Town—then in the Second Division—at the beginning of the 2003-04 campaign.

He remains prominent in Klopp's first-team plans and has started in 12 of his 14 appearances across all competitions this season. He was less involved last term and was substituted on in almost half of his games (21 of 47 outings), but he has enjoyed a resurgence in 2018-19.

It's been a particular surprise to see Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum feature so heavily after the summer arrivals of Fabinho and Naby Keita, though it proves Klopp picks his players on form above all else.

That setup promises to keep running in Milner's favour as long as he can stave off the ageing process. He has a contract that's due to expire at the end of this season, although Klopp's comments suggest he'd be happy to see his midfielder stay at Anfield beyond then.