Liverpool’s Milner eyeing Cup glory
James Milner is confident Liverpool can end the current season with a trophy added to their illustrious cabinet, despite the side undergoing a period of transition under new manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Anfield club entertain West Ham in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday having already tasted cup success this week when a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Stoke carried them through to the League Cup final meeting with Manchester City next month.
Although Liverpool’s inconsistency has seen them fall behind in the chase for a top-four Premier League finish, and a place in the Champions League, their cup form suggests Klopp could make an immediate winning start to his career as the Merseyside club’s manager.
“This club is built on success, they’re used to winning trophies,” said Milner.
“We can win a trophy and be in the hunt for others during a transition season when it’s easy to say, ‘There’s been a lot of changes — let’s see how we do. Do the best we can and go again next year.’
“Hopefully we can do both,” the midfielder added.
“The transition with the new manager and keep improving while getting a few players back.
“We’re in a final and it’s one step further than we got last year. It’s pleasing. We’ve got a lot of improving to do as well.
“If we can do that, it should be exciting times at the club. There’s definitely a lot more to come from this squad.”
– Big change –
Milner, 30, moved to Anfield from their League Cup final opponents Manchester City in pre-season, but the England international utility man said Reds supporters had yet to see him hit his peak form.
“I still think there is a lot more to come from me here. It is tough changing clubs, I have changed clubs before, played in the Premier League and played a lot of games but it does seem to take time.
“It is a big change, you are playing with different players and everything is new. I don’t think I have hit the levels I want to achieve and I know I can, but I will keep working hard and hopefully my best form will come and the fans will see the best of me.”
Liverpool are still hampered by a long injury list although Dejan Lovren could return to the heart of the defence in place of Kolo Toure, while Nathanial Clyne is expected to step in at right-back for Jon Flanagan, who made his first start in 20 months against Stoke.
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic will shuffle his pack but promised he would still field a strong side at Anfield.
Former Liverpool forward Andy Carroll will not feature, however, as he is not yet fully fit and new signing Sam Byram is cup-tied.
West Ham have already beaten Liverpool home and away in the league this season, with their Anfield success their first victory there since 1963.
But Bilic revealed he had been disappointed to have been sent there again.
“I was not happy with the draw because it was one of the most difficult we could get,” he said.
“We have beaten them twice but it’s still Liverpool away. When I heard the draw I didn’t think ‘we beat them twice, come on!’. I was like ‘why Liverpool?’. But we are confident and we know what we have to do to have a chance to beat them again.”
Diafra Sakho and Carl Jenkinson are also out injured, the latter long-term because of a knee problem, but defender James Tomkins is back and set to be deployed at right-back.
No comments yet