James Milner singles out Liverpool team-mate for praise after Champions League exit

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James Milner hailed one team-mate as ‘outstanding’ after Liverpool were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid. Jurgen Klopp’s men were held to a 0-0 draw by Zinedine Zidane’s side despite creating plenty of chances – and Milner called on the Reds to replicate the same intensity as they push for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Liverpool crashed out of Europe’s top club competition at Anfield on Wednesday after failing to overturn a 3-1 deficit from last week’s first leg in Spain.

Klopp’s side carved out plenty of chances, with Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Milner all denied as they searched for a breakthrough.

While Milner was disappointed to crash out of the competition, the midfielder insisted Liverpool were “the better team” and hailed his team-mates’ “intensity and desire”.

And he singled out centre-half Nat Phillips, describing the 24-year-old’s performance as “fantastic”.

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“It was a good effort tonight,” Milner told BT Sport after the game. “I thought there were some outstanding performances, Nat Phillips was absolutely fantastic at the back.

“It’s disappointing because we did everything we wanted to do except get the two goals which is obviously the most important thing.”

Milner said the Reds needed a more clinical edge, saying: “I thought the performance was good, the intensity and desire was good.

“We won the ball back well, pressed pretty well, but we cannot not take the chances that we had tonight. We had more than enough chances to do what we needed to do and we didn’t take them – that was the difference unfortunately.

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“I think the positives are that we’re creating them especially against a team like this and the reaction we showed after the first-leg.

“We have done enough tonight to go through, I believe that, with the chances we had, we were the better team.”

“I think the most important thing is focusing on our level of performance,” he said. “If we perform with that intensity and desire that we played with tonight for the last league games, then hopefully we can get into those top four spots.

“It’s the most important thing, to replicate this form.

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“That’s the one thing that’s been missing, that consistency – we haven’t had it, so we need to get back and have a big push in those last few games and put this disappointment aside.”

Liverpool are away to Leeds United on Monday night with Klopp’s side currently three poits behind fourth-placed West Ham.

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