What James Milner Did Before Liverpool’s Game With Shrewsbury Shows Why He’s The Ultimate Leader
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James Milner was the only member of Liverpool's first team squad in attendance as the youth team played their roles as understudies perfectly in the FA Cup game against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.
The draw in the fourth round game meant the Premier League leaders had to play the replay at the beginning of their mid season break so Jurgen Klopp decided that none of his first team would be available and under 23 manager Neil Critchley would take charge.
Milner was very visible on the night, sitting behind the bench to support the young team, and afterwards Critchley revealed how big an impact the 34-year-old had on the team, "He trained with us yesterday and he asked whether he could come along," Critchley told reporters after the 1-0 win.
"I think the answer is 'Yes, of course you can.' It was very respectful to ask.
"He then said 'Can I come in the dressing room?'. What do you think? 'Of course'.
"He was giving words of advice, he was getting right behind the players. He was vocal in the dressing room. He was animated. He was vocal behind me, I could hear him.
"He was genuinely delighted at how the boys performed and I can't thank him enough."
James Milner opting not to go on a holiday during the winter break but go and watch the youngsters play against Shrewsbury.- LFCVine (@LFCVine) February 4, 2020
What a guy!:clap::red_circle: pic.twitter.com/JhcBXEEhrY
Liverpool rested much of their first team in the original game and had looked in control, when a Donald Love own goal in the 46th minute put them 2-0 up, but threw away their lead in the second half.
Klopp angered many when he suggested that not only would the players not appear but he would also be sticking to the Premier League break and not be at the game.
On Tuesday the Reds lined up with a team that had an average age of 19 years and 102 days, the club's youngest ever line up, and managed to get through to the fifth round.
The young team, captained by 19-year-old Curtis Jones, needed a second half own goal by former Manchester United youth team player Ro-Shaun Williams but were the better side throughout.
The win means that Klopp will be back in charge for their fifth round match against Chelsea which will take place in midweek rather than the weekend.
Whether Milner will make a big impact on the pitch in that game remains to be seen but the experienced midfielder certainly helped get the club through their replay on Tuesday.