Football: Liverpool's depth pushing players to perform, says Milner

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) speaking to James Milner during the match between Liverpool and Hull City on Sept 24, 2016.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) speaking to James Milner during the match between Liverpool and Hull City on Sept 24, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Liverpool's strength in depth has driven the players to push harder for first-team places in the knowledge that manager Jurgen Klopp will not hesitate to drop underperformers, according to James Milner.

Milner, who has been deployed in a defensive role this season under Klopp, converted two penalties as the Merseyside club thrashed 10-man Hull City 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

"You look down the squad list and the quality is unbelievable," Milner told the club's website (liverpoolfc.com).

"You see the bench and some boys have been injured, some players aren't in the squad, and the young boys who are knocking around the squad with such quality.

"You need that competition for places to drive each other on. Hopefully we can keep improving as a team."

The five-time European champions are fourth in the table on 13 points after six games, having also beaten Arsenal, Chelsea and champions Leicester City and drawn with Tottenham Hotspur while their only defeat has come against the promoted Burnley.

"If you don't perform, the shirt is going to be taken off you and someone else is going to get the chance," Milner added as his team prepare for a clash with Swansea on Saturday.

"And you don't know how long they are going to have that shirt for."