Jurgen Klopp has been warned he should not be placing as much reliance on James Milner as he has in recent seasons due to the midfielder's advancing years.
The dependable and versatile Milner has been a consistent source of experience to call upon in Liverpool's Champions League and Premier League winning campaigns despite not being considered a member of the regular starting XI.
Even without first choice status, though, Milner has still racked up 82 appearances across the last two seasons, filling in various positions.
Despite not playing much at the start of this campaign, the 35-year-old has been used more frequently amid Liverpool's injury crisis of late.
But ex-Premier League star Andy Townsend believes Milner's days of featuring so heavily are behind him.
"He is still a great squad player, he is still a fantastic pro, but you are not going to put James Milner in that team and all of a sudden think, 'Wow, he is ready to stay here for another 25 games. I can play him every week'. You can't do that," Townsend told talkSPORT (via HITC ).
Milner has long been considered as one of the fittest members of Liverpool's squad and regularly records the best scores in the pre-season tests.
But despite his impressive durability, as well as his standing as the club's vice-captain, Milner did not start a Premier League game until the end of November.
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It's been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp's men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk's season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson's injury worries too.
But there's no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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Curtis Jones and Naby Keita are Klopp's preferred options when both available, but Milner has seen more action in recent weeks.
He started four games in a row – including the FA Cup tie at Man Utd – but was among the substitutes for Liverpool's clash with Man City on Sunday, with Jones starting ahead of him.
Klopp's decision to substitute Milner for Jones due to injury concerns in the win over West Ham last weekend initially irked the veteran, until his replacement immediately set up a goal.
How big a role can Milner play for Liverpool going forward? Have your say below.
Now Liverpool have signed two new central defenders Milner may well be pushed to the sidelines again, with Jordan Henderson expected to move back into midfield, while Keita is due to return from injury.
Milner is contracted to stay at Liverpool until 2022 and has previously hinted at remaining in football once he has retired, though may feel he still has plenty to give on the field before then.
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