Liverpool’s James Milner came in for praise from manager Brendan Rodgers after scoring his first goal for the club in Friday’s friendly win over Brisbane Roar.
Rodgers’ side fell behind in the 17th minute at Suncorp Stadium after Dimitri Petratos’ cool finish, but were level before the half-hour thanks to Adam Lallana’s sublime curling effort.
Milner, who joined on a free transfer from Premier League rivals Manchester City, netted the leveller when he worked space for himself on the edge of the box and saw his shot loop over goalkeeper Jamie Young and into the net.
“He and Jordan Henderson could run to Adelaide!” Rodgers said of Milner.
“The work they put into a game, how they press, how they run, but also the quality. We wanted more goals from midfield and you see James, that was the idea because when he plays in a central area he can really penetrate the box.
“He got in a number of times, had a couple of shots that went close and then he got his goal. He’s a top-class operator and I think playing in this team and at Liverpool he’ll probably shine even more.
“Players will always have a favourite position. Sometimes when you’re such a great professional, you can get moved about; it’s an attribute that is good to have as a player.
“But every player will want to play in their main position and James probably suffered a little bit from being such a good player and such a good footballer.
“He has played at right-back, wide on the left, wide on the right, as a striker, a midfield player. You always want players like that in your squad, but as a player you want to play in your favourite position.
“Probably the best season James ever had was at Aston Villa playing as a central midfield player. He’s going to be huge for us and working close at hand with him I can see why he’s regarded as a top-class professional.”
The game marked the second start for young full-back Joe Gomez, who signed from Charlton Athletic, and Rodgers declared he had no plans to let the 18-year-old go out on loan.
“He’s staying. I’ve seen enough in this period; you judge young players, I always bring them in and over pre-season have a good idea of whether we’re going to keep them or not,” the Northern Irishman said.
“Seeing him, in particular close at hand and his personality – he’ll be staying, he’ll get games.”