Liverpool information: Hazard declare, Coutinho alternative recognized, daring title prediction

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LIVERPOOL news and gossip – Starsport brings you all the latest from Anfield.

James Milner is the early frontrunner to win this season’s Footballer of the Year, according to Garth Crooks.

“James Milner has taken the early lead for my Footballer of the Year,” he told BBC Sport.

“I must say that Eden Hazard is a close second but the way Milner is leading Liverpool through some very tricky games is very impressive.

“Against Arsenal the ball couldn’t have dropped in front of a more cool-headed but utterly ruthless professional.

“He can do everything.”

Arsenal legend Ian Wright

“Whatever happens between now and the end of the season I guarantee you Milner will be featuring in my Team of the Week on a few more occasions.”

Liverpool don’t need to buy a replacement for Philippe Coutinho because they already have one in Xherdan Shaqiri, according to Ian Wright.

“When you look at Shaqiri, the rest of them aren’t like how he is,” he said.

“I think that he occupies that Coutinho would occupy and he’s got a little bit more in respects of the way he can run at people, he can pick out the passes, get in the box and score goals.

Eden Hazard

Liverpool star James Milner has been backed to rival Eden Hazard for player of the year (Pic: GETTY)

“He’s not Coutinho but he’s not a million miles away from that calibre of player in respect of what he can bring to the team.

“Free-kicks, he can do everything.”

Liverpool will be Premier League title contenders for the next five years because of their improved defence, claims Danny Murphy.

“They look very comfortable defending now,” he told talkSPORT.

“That back five is now looking like a really balanced unit.

“With their age and with a really good keeper, for the next five years this could be the reason why Liverpool compete on all fronts competitively.

“With their age and with a really good keeper, for the next five years this could be the reason why Liverpool compete on all fronts competitively.

“The back four have coped with an Arsenal side full of confidence, pace, energy, momentum, (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, (Alexandre) Lacazette.

“This looks a special back four. Trent Alexander-Arnold, he’s young, he’s learning.

“(Joe) Gomez for me, I saw at full-back and I wasn’t convinced but he’s physically perfect.

“Van Dijk has got to be one of the best in the world, he’s absolutely awesome in every part of his game.

“And (Andy) Robertson. He can play going forward, energy, tenacity but he can defend as well and he wants to defend.”

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