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Liverpool's James Milner: 'Expectations should be high, we can beat anyone'

After Liverpool made easy work of West Ham, the FC crew examine what makes the Reds capable of challenging Man City for the Premier League title.
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 19th minute and Sadio Mane added two more goals as Liverpool went on to win 4-0 against West Ham.

James Milner has said Liverpool should embrace enhanced expectations this season and it is now the time for the side to win their first trophy under Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool have been touted as Manchester City's closest competitors for the Premier League title this term following a summer where the squad was strengthened with the additions of Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson.

Milner, who won the league with City on two occasions, is confident that Liverpool can end their six-year trophy drought in 2018-19, having lost their last three finals.

"Expectations should be high," the 32-year-old told Liverpool's matchday programme. "We're at Liverpool. It's a massive club where expectations are always high because there is a great history of winning things here.

"We are expected to win every single game, no matter who we are playing against when we step on to the field, so it's up to us to be big enough to accept that responsibility and embrace the pressure.

"I've been here for three years now and in that time we've been to three finals and come so close to winning silverware. You can see the progression of the team since the manager has been here. We are capable of beating anyone.

"The team has evolved and we're moving forward all the time but I think it is time we got over the line and won a piece of silverware. That's putting pressure on ourselves but that is what's expected at this football club.

"It's something that we are more than ready to do, but getting that first trophy is always the hardest. If we can get that first trophy it will hopefully set up better things to come."

Milner delivered a man-of-the-match performance in Liverpool's Premier League opener against West Ham United on Sunday as he entered his 17th season in the top flight of English football. 

"I still love the game and I'm desperate to do well," he added. "I still feel fit and I'm raring to go but your role changes as time moves on.

"I've gone from being that young guy at Leeds to being one of the older guys at Liverpool who helps the young lads out by using what I've learned from the different managers and players I've played with. I'm lucky to have played for as long as I have at some very big clubs and hopefully I can continue to give as much as I can to this football club both on and off the field."

Meanwhile, Joel Matip continued his rehabilitation from a thigh injury by playing in a behind-closed-doors practice match at Melwood on Wednesday. The centre-half played the entirety of the 60-minute game that involved players who did not start Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham, along with a number of youngsters from the club's academy.

Matip, who has not played in a competitive Liverpool fixture since March, was forced home from the summer tour of the United States after sustaining another injury setback during a friendly with Borussia Dortmund.

His return will be timely boost for Klopp, who is currently without centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan through injury.

Matip partnered Nathaniel Phillips in the 11 vs. 11 game on Wednesday evening and was on the team that won 5-0 as Xherdan Shaqiri, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Dominic Solanke (twice) all scored at the club's training ground.

Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno also featured in the match, while those that started on the weekend trained in a separate session.

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