Garth Crooks singles out Liverpool star for contribution to title bid

The former Tottenham forward heaps praise on Liverpool's makeshift left-back James Milner

Garth Crooks believes James Milner is playing a vital role in Liverpool’s Premier League title bid this season.

The retired England international has been utilised in an unorthodox left-back position throughout most of the 2016-17 season so far.

Alberto Moreno started in the full-back position for their 4-3 victory over Arsenal in their opening Premier League game of the campaign but the Spanish defender was criticised for his erratic performance.

Milner has since replaced Moreno in Klopp’s starting line-up and the former Manchester City man has barely put a foot wrong despite playing most of his Premier League career as a midfielder.

The 30-year-old scored his fifth top-flight goal of the 2016-17 campaign on Saturday evening as he doubled Liverpool’s lead in a 2-0 victory over Sunderland at Anfield.

Former Tottenham forward Crooks has been impressed with Milner’s consistent performances in Klopp’s Liverpool side.

“How long can this go on? James Milner is not only playing in a position that normally requires a specialist, but doing it brilliantly,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“There can only be a handful of top-class wingers whose game has allowed them to become a vital cog in what I would describe as a rather uncertain defensive unit.

“Nevertheless, James ‘I will play anywhere for the team, boss’ Milner is giving Liverpool assurance at key moments in games. So much so, it’s putting the Reds in a position where we are having to take them seriously as title contenders.

“His penalty conversion against an ultra-defensive Sunderland settled Liverpool down at the right time in what might have otherwise been a very tricky fixture.”

Liverpool signed Milner in a free transfer from Premier League title rivals Manchester City in 2015.

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