Can James Milner Be Replaced?

James Milner started his career at Leeds United before permanent moves to Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Manchester City before his free transfer to Liverpool. He has been a revelation for Liverpool, managing twelve goals from three seasons of which he was been switched to the full back role for many of the games prior to the signing of Andrew Robertson. 

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He has managed eleven assists within the past three seasons and maintained fantastic discipline contrary towards his common defensive contributions and tackles during matches only conceding an average of 1.2 fouls on average within his twenty nine games played this season.

 Milner has also managed a brilliant balance with attacking returns of which the midfielder has managed seven goals and three assists this season with 1.6 key passes on average per game he has played of which has contributed towards the Reds title charge. 

The versatile midfielder has shown Anfield the ability to play many positions with this season alone playing right back, the left of midfield and centre midfield, managing consistent performances whenever he plays with averages of 6.37 from coming off the substitute’s bench, 6.76 from a less experienced left back position, a fantastic 7.23 from centre midfield with his best rating on average coming within left midfield of which he has achieved a 8.13 average. 

From signing on a free from Manchester City, his attitude and performances have led him to be loved from the Kop however at an age of thirty-three and not getting any younger, Liverpool will have to replace the versatility and attitude of James Milner of which can be done by certain players.
Summer signing Fabinho possesses great versatility and can be able to play an array of positions such as centre defensive midfield and right back. Fabinho has rivalled Milner’s statistics this season and on average with one more game played has managed a total of 84.8% success rate with passing compared to Milner’s 83.7% while winning 0.7% more aerial battles more than Milner. Also with comparison towards the fact Fabinho plays deeper, Milner has only managed one more assist. 

Considering Fabinho and Milner have an eight year age gap between them and Fabinho has been finding his feet, potentially he could be the man that Milner has been over the past two years within years to come and certainly has the statistics and returns to back up the statement and potentially take on the what Milner has managed to achieve.

Another man that Liverpool could potentially sign as a Milner replacement could be former Anderlecht and current AS Monaco youngster Youri Tielemans. The midfielder who can play centre midfielder and a deep defensive midfielder has had cracking returns from a side that has been fighting relegation and should he want to go to a bigger team, Liverpool may be monitoring his situation considering the statistics he has possessed at an age of twenty one at struggling AS Monaco. 

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Within forty games this season across the board, Tielemans has managed five goals and three assists all from centre midfield contributing towards the attack however his best performances have come from defensive midfield with a rating ratio of 7.08-6.93 centre defensive midfield to centre midfield. He has rivalled Milner’s passing success at a fantastic 82.5% with 1.8 shots per game which trumps Miner’s 0.8 shots per game. 

Being able to play two positions comfortably and having nearly as good of statistics as James Milner himself, Youri Tielemans looks a viable replacement for the aging Milner and could be someone Juergen Klopp looks to bring within the next couple of transfer windows to maintain the target of trying to win trophies when Milner leaves or retires.

Finally, a player that could assist within replicating Milner and his returns could be the forgotten man Marko Grujic, signed from Red Star Belgrade for a fee of £5.1m. The twenty-two year old has been a revelation for Hertha Berlin on loan from Liverpool this season and as one of Klopp’s earliest signings, he may have a role to play over the next few seasons. 

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Grujic represents an extremely versatile player and for Hertha Berlin this year has played left forward, centre midfield and his common defensive midfield. He has managed within his thirteen appearances all across the board this year a goal from a deep position while managing a very respectable 3.9 clearances per game of which Milner has only managed 0.7 per game, 1.9 tackles marginally beating the 1.8 per game on average Milner managed and 1.3 interceptions towards Milner’s 0.9 representing a very successful loan spell that could convince Klopp to give Marko Grujic another chance within the first team, excel and be the player that we know he can be

Overall, James Milner has been amazing for Liverpool, giving his all every game and possessing great statistics that have led to his rise of his popularity. Contrary to his success, Liverpool have many options that can rival and better the statistics of James Milner and overall could lead to a very good midfield within the coming seasons and still have a player of Milner’s class within.

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