Liverpool resume their campaign by traveling to Vicarage Road to take on Watford, who last week installed Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach.
James Milner has labelled Liverpool’s start to the new season as “solid” and wants to help the club improve on it following this latest international break. The Reds resume their 2021-22 campaign by travelling to Vicarage Road on Saturday to take on Watford, who last week installed Claudio Ranieri as their new head coach. Notably, Milner has retired from representing England back in 2016. He now uses the international break to ensure that he’s in the best possible shape physically and mentally to serve manager Jurgen Klopp. When asked about the start to the season, he told Liverpoolfc.com: “I think it’s a solid start.”
“I think we know in games we’ve had the performances could have been better at times, we’ve dropped points where we maybe wouldn’t have liked to, but I think it’s a great base to go from. It’s always tricky at the start of the season – and still is at this point, I think, when you’re playing a few games and then the international break, a few more games and then international break. It’s hard to get the rhythm.
“Players obviously going off and playing with their national team and having to come back and fit back into different systems and things. So, I think it’s a solid start with the games we’ve played. Obviously the Champions League group is pretty tricky. The start we had in the league was pretty tricky as well and unfortunately every game in the Premier League is tricky, isn’t it? So, it’s a solid start and we know that we can play better and there’s plenty to improve, so that’s the pleasing thing.”
Milner also spoke about how he utilises the international break since retiring from national team duty. “I think it’s nice to get away whenever possible really. It’s so intense when we’re here and not many days off. So to get that time away and a change of scenery [is nice] – still do the work that you need to do, the fitness side and things like that,” he added.
“But to be able to get a break from the intensity of the AXA and games every three days, when you come back you feel so ready to go again for that next burst. That’s helped me obviously. I did international football for a very long time, so I know how tough it is. So now when you get these breaks, it is great for us to recharge but obviously you’re still doing your fitness work and when you come back, you’re ready to go again.
Next up for Liverpool is Watford, who has a new manager in place. Speaking about the clash, Milner said: “It seems to always happen to us, I think, when teams are maybe going through a sticky patch and the manager changes before we play them. That makes them more unpredictable, I think. Obviously I think it’s always going to be tough. Whether they’re flying or they change the manager, it’s going to be tough. It’s the Premier League, there’s good teams and teams who are struggling are going to want to turn it around. Obviously probably a bit less pressure on them – teams will expect us to win and people will expect us to win.”
“So, the pressure is off them a bit and they can go out there with a free hit. Now obviously with a change of manager, he might change a lot, he might not change too much – it’s hard to know, so that makes it a bit more difficult. We just have to make sure that we concentrate on our side and put in a performance and prepare the best we can for how we think they’re going to play. But it’s on our performance really.”