When you think about the best performers of the season to date certain names come to mind.
The likes of Diego Costa and N’Golo Kante for Chelsea have certainly impressed whilst Alexis Sanchez has had a good season for Arsenal.
There’s another man, though, who also deserves credit and that is James Milner of Liverpool.
He was already widely heralded as one of the most versatile players about before this season but he’s certainly underlined that in bold this year for his performances at left back.
Arguably, he’s been the best in his position this season alongside Danny Rose and that says a great deal about how he’s played but, unfortunately for the Reds, there is one considerable drawback to having him at left back.
Interestingly, it’s not the fact he’s never played there before, either, as he looks a natural at the back whilst he also gets forward well, too.
It’s when he’s in those advanced positions, though, when things begin to get troublesome.
All being well, Liverpool have Philippe Coutinho down that left side with him cutting in to pop off shots and passes. What’s needed outside of him, then, is someone to stretch the play and get to the byline but Milner can’t offer that.
He doesn’t have the pace nor the belief in himself to go with his left foot leaving him to cut inside just like the Brazilian in front of him.
It provides for a very narrow set-up for the Reds, too, and as we’ve seen without Sadio Mane – Liverpool suffer when they can’t get it wide.
The problem will at least half now the Senegal international is back on the scene but, until Milner can bring that ability to get to the byline and cross, there’s always going to be a problem – regardless of how good he’s been otherwise.
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