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Milner admits Liverpool’s senior players ‘let down’ youngsters against Stoke

Date Posted,April 11, 2017

James Milner believes Liverpool’s senior players didn’t do enough to help the young players in the side against Stoke.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn both started at the Bet365 Stadium but were withdrawn at the break with the hosts leading 1-0.

Brazilian duo Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino entered the fray and both found the net as the Reds came from behind to win.

And Milner felt the more experienced players didn’t do enough to help the young duo, reports the Liverpool Echo.

“I think at this stage of the season every three points is important, especially after going 1-0 down,” he said.

Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner battle for possession (Photo: Getty)
Stoke City's Geoff Cameron in action with Liverpool's Emre Can and Ben Woodburn
Woodburn in action against Stoke (Photo: REUTERS)
Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool (Photo: Getty)

“We didn’t play well in the first half and the two boys coming on (Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino) made a big change for us.

“Nothing against the two young boys who started the game, we probably let them down as senior guys, we didn’t play well and didn’t help them out.

“We managed to get going in the second half, could have scored a few more and Simon (Mignolet) made two unbelievable saves at important times in the game.”

The second-half comeback at Stoke cements Liverpool’s place as the Premier League’s comeback kings. Klopp’s side have won 18 points from losing positions this season, more than any other side.

This despite criticism regularly being levelled at the team for an alleged weakness mentally – something Milner vehemently denies.

He said: “That is one thing that can never be thrown at this squad that we lack desire and a will to win and the attitude to come back again. we have done it many times and that belief to keep going and get three points is there.

Coutinho and Firmino celebrate (Photo: PA)
Woodburn and Alexander-Arnold during a training session (Photo: Getty)

“The treatment table is a busy place at the moment unfortunately. We have proved by winning (at Stoke) that the squad is there.

“The Brazilian lads carrying injuries, Phil being ill the other night, we hadn’t seen him for two days and he comes on and does that. Roberto is struggling.

“It was a good job it wasn’t windy because I think Phil would have blown away – he lost a lot of weight! I am buzzing for him, it’s fantastic, it shows what a big player for us he is and his desire to come and do that after a tough 48 hours.

“We have injuries all over the place, it is that time of the year and you just have to suck it up and keep going and like I say the desire and heart from the squad is always there. We just need that consistency really.”

Joel Matip and James Milner during a training session (Photo: Getty)
Jurgen Klopp talks with Milner (Photo: Getty)

Saturday’s win keeps Liverpool in the box seat for a top four finish, sitting third in the table with six league games to play.

And though the sides below them – Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal – all have games in hand, six wins for the Reds will be enough.

“The position we are in means it is irrelevant what other teams think and do,” Milner added. “We know that if we do the business in our remaining games, it will be good enough I am sure. It is down to us.

“We don’t want to get sidetracked or have to worry about other results. Hopefully we can take care of business ourselves.”

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