‘Exceptional’ James Milner makes 600th Premier League appearance as Liverpool beat Southampton

    Liverpool FC v SSC Napoli: Group A - UEFA Champions League
    James Milner joined Liverpool on a free on 2015 (Photo: Getty)

    James Milner reached an incredible Premier League milestone on Saturday as Liverpool beat Southampton 3-1 at Anfield.

    A Roberto Firmino goal and a brace from Darwin Nunez were enough for the Reds to seal victory in their last game before the World Cup break.

    Milner was subbed on in the 68th minute for Harvey Elliott, in a game that the 36-year-old will never forget.

    He became only the fourth player in history to play 600 Premier League games, after Gareth Barry (653), Ryan Giggs (632) and Frank Lampard (609).

    The tireless midfielder has endured an incredible, trophy-laden career so far that includes the Premier League title and Champions League triumph with Liverpool.

    The former England international made his professional debut in 2002 with Leeds aged 16 and has since gone onto play for Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and the Reds in the top-flight.

    ‘You see someone like Ben Doak come on the other night at a similar age and do well. Hopefully they can have a long career as I have,’ Milner told BBC Sport post-Southampton.

    Leeds Uniteds James Milner gives chase to Chelsea'
    Milner made his professional debut with Leeds in 2002 (Photo: Getty)

    ‘It’s a big number isn’t it? It’s unbelievable. It’s been a very long time.

    ‘Hopefully I’ll play a bit of golf and a bit of rest [during the World Cup break] – but not too long because when you get older your kneecaps go a bit! It’s about getting that balance right.’

    Milner, who will turn 37 in January, is out of contract at the end of the season, and while his ability on the pitch is not quite as good as it was in his peak, his work on the training ground and the dressing room is always well-thought of.

    ‘Only the fourth player to reach 600 games?’ a stunned Jurgen Klopp said in his post-match press conference.

    ‘Stevie [Gerrard] didn’t reach 600? Interesting. A lot of things need to come together. You have to be a top, top, top professional. Milly is.

    ‘I’m really proud to be around him. An exceptional player and person. Essential for everything.’

    MORE : Trent Alexander-Arnold hails Darwin Nunez as he stars in Liverpool win over Southampton

    MORE : Jurgen Klopp welcomes new investment into Liverpool as he targets new signings

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