James Milner doesn’t want the limelight of the star, is too long in the tooth to crave recognition, even if he is getting it belatedly at Liverpool .
“That is not really my character. I prefer to go under the radar,” he said with a shrug, after playing a pivotal role in this vital victory.
“Recognition from the outside doesn’t really interest me. As long as I am doing what I can to help this team, playing or not, on or off the field, that’s the important thing.
“Every player has strengths and has a massive impact on the squad.
"You are looking right down to third-fourth choice goalkeepers like Lonners (Andy Lonergan) and what an impact he has around the squad and how well he trains every day.
“Everyone, if we achieve something this year, will have contributed to that. I am lucky enough that I have played a lot of seasons and I have seen a lot of things and hopefully I can help the boys on that side.”
He is of course, being modest. The influence Milner had on this contest, following a troubling run of three defeats in four games for Liverpool, showed how important he is.
It is a fact recognised by his manager Jurgen Klopp, even if for much of his time at Anfield, the fans have not always subscribed to that belief.
It is only when they are missing that the likes of Milner and Jordan Henderson are truly appreciated, as the recent blip without the pair proved beyond doubt.
Klopp, the master team-builder, has a powerful belief that not all can play the glamorous role.
“In no team, whether it’s a football team or in an office, can you have people who are brilliant all in the same area," he said. "It just doesn’t work.
“In a team, you need a mix of personalities. So I have no clue how somebody can doubt these boys. I have no idea. But if it happens, then thank God it isn’t my problem.
“I make my own decisions. And I would say, I hope I haven’t been short of praising Millie in the past!
"Why would we extend the contract of a 34-year-old by two years if he’s not incredibly important to everything that we do?”
Liverpool did have their obvious heroes against Bournemouth , Mo Salah and Sadio Mane dragging them back into the game with typical class finishes after the visitors led through a controversial Callum Wilson goal.
Yet Milner’s goal-line clearance in the second half was equally brilliant, equally heroic, equally important. “Milly saved our life!” Klopp beamed afterwards.
He is a calming influence no doubt, and a leader – boosting and bawling in equal measure. It is, he says modestly, a function of age. “When you have experienced things, it does help.
“Maybe I’m just a bit older than most of them unfortunately! What the team has done this season has been unbelievable.
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