WOLVERHAMPTON, England — James Milner has dismissed the claim that Liverpool’s early exit from the FA Cup is a blessing in disguise and said the team now has to respond to consecutive defeats.
Liverpool, the Premier League leaders, will have a free weekend later this month after they were knocked out 2-1 at the third-round stage of the FA Cup by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night.
But Milner admits he cannot see any positives in Liverpool losing any match, regardless of the competition.
“Not really. I think when you’re a team like us, with the players we have, you want to win every single game,” the 33-year-old told reporters. “We’re disappointed to not win and go through.
“In the league [we are in a good position], yeah, but obviously that’s not what we’ve thinking about … We want to progress in every game we play — whether it’s the Champions League, League Cup or the Premier League.
“It’s disappointing but we have to make sure we recover and bounce back from this. But, like we said before, we have to reset our sights for a few days’ time for another big game. The games keep coming thick and fast and hopefully we can get a few of the injured lads back as well.”
Liverpool travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on the weekend with a four-point advantage at the top of the table.
Saturday’s encounter with Chris Hughton’s side is Liverpool’s first league match since their unbeaten start to the campaign was ended at Manchester City last week.
“You’re never going to go a full season without having blips,” Milner continued. “I think at the start of this season we weren’t playing our best but we were getting results.
“Back-to-back defeats now, which really isn’t good enough for us, but you have blips in a season. It’s not about having those blips, they’re expected and no team goes throughout a season without having them, it’s how you respond and how you bounce back.
“I think you’ve seen the character in the squad in the last few years and the players we have to know we will bounce back. We have to show that, though. It’s easy saying it in an interview, we have to do it on the pitch at the weekend.”
Meanwhile, Milner saluted the performance of debutant Ki-Jana Hoever at Molineux after the 16-year-old thrust into action.
Hoever became Liverpool’s third-youngest ever player when came on to replace an injured Dejan Lovren after five minutes, slotting in at centre-half.
“Ki coming on after a minute and playing like he did [was] absolutely outstanding,” Milner, who made his professional debut for Leeds United at 16 years and 309 days, added.
“He’s going to be a top, top player. You can see that straight away — his temperament, he’s comfortable on the ball.”