James Milner warns Liverpool to ‘finish the job’ in Champions League
James Milner has warned Liverpool they must get off holiday-mode quickly in order to avoid Champions League disappointment.
Liverpool’s players will return for pre-season next week, a month before the Premier League campaign is set to kick off with a trip to Watford on August 12.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will face a two-leg play-off to confirm their Champions League place for the new season in the same month though, after finishing fourth in the top flight, and Milner admits the Reds need to get straight back into shape.
„The off season is always a funny one – you enjoy yourself and relax but you’ve always got one eye on pre-season and making sure you’re right and ready to go again,“ he told Liverpool’s official website. „Obviously it’s a big start to the season for us.
„Pre-season is always tough, nobody particularly enjoys it. But with the tours and the [Champions League] qualifier we want to hit the ground running and start the season well. So it’s important you’re ready to go.“
Klopp’s side had the best record against the Premier League’s highest-placed sides of any of the top-four clubs, remaining unbeaten against Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and both Manchester clubs throughout last season.
Although Liverpool ended up finishing 17 points behind champions Chelsea, Milner believes guaranteeing their Champions League status is the first step to bigger things in the new season.
„It’s not easy to get into the qualifiers even – top four in the Premier League is tough,“ he added.
„We’ve done part of the job but we have to finish that now. It would be disappointing not to make it after all the hard work we did last year. I’m sure we will.
„We’re improving all the time as a team and you can see that over the last couple of years since the manager has come in. We’re moving in the right direction.
„New faces come in over the summer and the squad is a year older as well. It is a pretty young squad so that experience of having a successful season last year and hopefully getting some more confidence there can stand us in good stead for the season.“Soccer Accumulator Bonus
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