Klopp reveals reason for Milner position change

James Milner Liverpool 2018-19
Getty Images
The former England international will start at right-back against Bournemouth with Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had no hesitation selecting James Milner at right-back for his 500th Premier League appearance.

With Joe Gomez ruled out for six weeks with a broken leg and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, Klopp has gone for experience for the key game at the Vitality Stadium.

Though the 32-year-old has spent much of the last two campaigns in midfield, he made 37 appearances at left-back during the 2016-17 campaign and enjoyed much success.

Article continues below

“It’s no problem," Klopp told Sky Sports. "I thought it could be a problem, but obviously he would have even played goalkeeper in game number 500!

“We need to be flexible, all of us, in the period – different positions, different jobs to do in the games. 

"But it’s only slightly different and Millie knows it from his time at left-back.

“We are a very offensive-orientated team, which means he is very often in a comfortable area. 

"With his experience, and especially against Bournemouth with the counter-attack, you need all the defensive skills as well. 

"Fraser, Brooks, Stanislas or whoever are all nice and speedy, King as well.

“It’s a job to do, but it’s nice to be part of the 500th Premier League game of Millie.”

The prospect of going top of the Premier League for a few hours at least has seen Klopp make five changes, with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino restored to the starting XI after being rested against Burnley.

Andy Robertson, Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum are also recalled and Klopp hopes the result will reflect the depth of quality at his disposal.

“I don’t think any of the boys have to show they are ready for a test or whatever," the German coach added.

"It was clear when we built the squad for the season that we wanted to have opportunities like that.

“It’s never easy because for football, rhythm is a very important thing and if you have no rhythm, like you saw in the first half against Burnley, it makes life a bit uncomfortable, but that’s normal. 

"Having that game was very, very important and then the second half showed everything is fine.

“Now we have to do the same again because it’s only three days since Burnley, and we play our next game in three days. 

"We don’t think about Napoli in the moment, but we cannot ignore it from an intensity point of view.”