James Milner

James Milner is statistically a better full-back than Danny Rose and Philipp Lahm

Milner transitions brilliantly

Out of options and unable to trust the calamitous Alberto Moreno, Jurgen Klopp rolled the dice by putting James Milner there as a stop-gap solution. Now, a new left-back isn’t a priority. Milner is the dice equivalent of two sixes, it turns out. The CIES Football Observatory have crunched the numbers and he’s one of the best full-backs in Europe.

He’s ahead of Spurs left-back Danny Rose (87) and Bayern Munich legend Philipp Lahm (86). He’s ahead of almost everyone. Getting a score of 88 means he’s joint-second in the European rankings with David Alaba. In first place is Juventus supremo Alex Sandro (89), the Brazilian who is apparently being chased by both Manchester clubs.

Valencia thriving at right-back

City don’t have any full-backs in the top twenty but United do and it’s another auxiliary full-back. Antonio Valencia (84) has been a revelation at right-back for the Red Devils and will make United think twice before shopping for a more conventional defender. Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso (87) ranks highly as does Middlesbrough’s George Friend (82).

Phillip Lahm