James Milner needs just two more outings to further climb the Premier League all-time appearances chart.
The Liverpool vice-captain is currently No.6 in the rankings on 534 and trails the late Gary Speed by one.
His first opportunity to match Speed's tally will arrive on Sunday evening when Jürgen Klopp's side return to top-flight action away at Everton.
Since joining the Reds on a free transfer in the summer of 2015, Milner has featured 145 times in the league for the club, scoring 19 goals in the process.
The Premier League veteran made 147 appearances in the competition when at Manchester City, 100 with Aston Villa, 94 for Newcastle United and 48 when starting out at his boyhood Leeds United.
When Milner eclipses Speed, he'll then be chasing down fourth-placed David James on the list, with the former Reds goalkeeper possessing 572 displays.
At age 34, there's no sign of the No.7 slowing down any time soon.
"Every single interview that I do, my age gets brought into it and that's something that drives me on," he said after signing a contract extension in December.
"I want to prove people wrong, I want to stay at the highest level as long as possible and I want to be contributing as long as I can to Liverpool."
Top 10 all-time Premier League appearances
Gareth Barry – 653
Ryan Giggs – 632
Frank Lampard – 609
David James – 572
Gary Speed – 535
James Milner – 534
Emile Heskey – 516
Mark Schwarzer – 514
Jamie Carragher – 508
Phil Neville – 505
More from our countdown series
Liverpool FC is providing exclusive content to supporters in Japan to help bring them closer to the club they love, through the launch of its official channel on LINE.
From today, fans will be able to keep up to date on all the Reds action and relive those special moments, through breaking news and daily club updates, exciting behind-the-scenes content, and exclusive player interviews.
Supporters who join the channel this week will be able to view exclusive content from Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino.
Launched in 2011, LINE is one of the leading communication apps in the region, with the 64 million monthly active users across all generations in Japan.
The club is launching its channel to connect with LFC fans and football supporters on the platform in Japan, so they can enjoy the exclusive videos and behind-the-scenes footage anytime, anywhere.
Drew Crisp, senior vice president, digital, media and marketing at Liverpool FC, said: “LINE is one of the most popular communication apps currently available in Japan and is an incredibly important channel for us to interact with our supporters in the region.
“It’s a great platform for us to share engaging content of our players, manager and fans, and reach our supporters currently using it to provide amazing moments, including our incredible journey on and off the pitch.”
If you haven’t already, visit https://lin.ee/R5eyxdA or scan the QR code to become part of the LFC community on LINE.
The Reds headed back into the restart of the Premier League needing six points to win the title, though defeat for City in their first match back would have meant Liverpool could claim the title with victory in the Merseyside derby.
Everton fans’ worst nightmares won’t come true, though, after Mikel Arteta failed to halt his former boss Pep Guardiola, with City triumphing 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Pre-game was all about another show of respect from Premier League players and officials to both the frontline workers and those who have suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Once the game was underway it didn’t take long for the first injury casualties of the restart to emerge, Arsenal losing two players in the first half.
Granit Xhaka took a heavy hit of the ball to an unsupported ankle, having to leave on a stretcher, before centre-back Pablo Mari appeared to either pull a hamstring or injure his Achilles while chasing back.
Just before the break, a classic David Luiz error of judgement allowed Raheem Sterling in and he lashed home the first goal of the post-pandemic Premier League, after Villa and Sheffield United drew 0-0 earlier in the evening.
The Brazilian centre-back—who only came on as sub for Mari—was far from done though and completed his defensive disasterclass as he also gifted City a second goal by fouling Riyad Mahrez for a penalty and getting himself sent-off in the process.
Kevin de Bruyne netted to effectively seal the result and City saw out the game with ease, Phil Foden netting late on after a bad injury to Eric Garcia.
City’s three points on the night means Liverpool’s lead is down to a mere 22 points—we’ll not start panicking just yet, but there remains a job to be done.
Wins in both fixtures would mean a long-awaited league title will be won next Wednesday, but a win at Goodison on Sunday and then City losing to Burnley on Monday would also hand the title to the Reds.
Unfortunately, there will be no Liverpool fans in attendance wherever the title is won, but that won’t diminish the incredible achievement of the team in what has been an extraordinary season.
All players and match officials took a knee at the start of the match at Villa Park in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Referee Michael Oliver blew the whistle for kick-off, before he and his officials joined all the players in kneeling for around 10 seconds.
As will be the case across the Premier League, the players all warmed up in Black Lives Matters movement t-shirts with names on the back of the match shirts replaced with the same message.
Aston Villa released a statement, which read: “Aston Villa and Sheffield United were proud to stand in solidarity with the actions of the players and coaching staff of both football clubs during the first ten seconds of tonight’s Premier League fixture, expressing our collective support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/LK8VagmOdJ
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) June 17, 2020
“In the first Premier League fixture of Project Restart both clubs hope that the act of ‘taking a knee’ will send a strong message of unity and amplify the many messages of support from Premier League players and the wider football family.
“The directors of both clubs, Dean Smith, Chris Wilder, Jack Grealish and Billy Sharp and the players of United and Villa are in full support of this action.
“We believe that ‘taking a knee’ at the start of the fixture and after the pre-match minute’s silence, allowed both clubs to pay their respects to COVID-19 victims and to show the deep gratitude we all feel for our brave and selfless front-line workers.”
There was of course plenty to take in, with lots of changed approaches from normal match play—and an absolute age since the last time we watched English football at all.
No fans in the ground, the added artificial crowd noise, the impending return of Liverpool to the pitch and indeed the actual football on show were all discussed by fans as the Premier League returned.
Here’s the best of the reaction from Reds fans and football figures as the 2019/20 campaign got back underway in the top flight.Naturally, many were delighted that English football was back
Can't believe how excited I am to watch a Villa game behind closed doors.
— Oli (@OliBurrows) June 17, 2020
I’ve missed you so much @premierleague
— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@YaroLFC) June 17, 2020
— Jesse Rai* (@Jesse_Rai) June 17, 2020
What a fantastic way to re-start the season. #blacklivesmatter
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) June 17, 2020
Itsss back ????????????????????????????
— Melissa Lawley (@MelissaLawley_) June 17, 2020And there was widespread approval at the players ‘taking a knee’ as the game kicked off
The Premier League takes a knee ?
— Goal (@goal) June 17, 2020
— Carrie Brown (@CarrieBrownTV) June 17, 2020
Powerful image with all of the players taking a knee right before kick-off.
— Bayer KEVerkusen (@Kevrov) June 17, 2020
Actual shivers at every player taking a knee *after the game had started*. What a moment
— Tom Webb (@tomwebby92) June 17, 2020
All of the Aston Villa and Sheffield United players as well as referee Michael Oliver take the knee right after the first whistle of the Premier League's return – while the world watches – in support of #BlackLivesMatter
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) June 17, 2020The “crowd noise” overlay by the TV producers was met with extremely mixed reaction!
How we watching it? #AVLSHU
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) June 17, 2020
Thank God for that Dants. Thought i was listening to a wasps nest! https://t.co/QlyKVRkGnZ
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) June 17, 2020
Prefer to watch on Main Event with the crowd noise added. #footballsback
— Jay (@Jay82_LFC) June 17, 2020
I like the crowd noise in the Premier League, it makes things feel a little normal.
— ReviewFootball (@ReviewFootball) June 17, 2020
Watching on UHD, not sure about this crowd noise? That shot had sound effects like it was scored, someone was trigger happy ?
— GaGs* (@GagsTandon) June 17, 2020
I'm done with the crowd noise already. Over to the other channel.
— Chris Atkins (@ChrisAtkins_) June 17, 2020
The weird fake crowd noise is going to take some getting used to hahaha
— Jimmy (@EntireDesign_) June 17, 2020
The crowd noise seems to have a bit of a delay. And also seems a bit hollow. Doesn't sound as good as what has been on the Bundesliga.
— Chris (@ChrisUnbearable) June 17, 2020And a few fans were already looking forward in anticipation of Liverpool’s return to action at the weekend
Nice to see the @premierleague return tonight albeit Liverpool don't play until Sunday.
— Jacob Porrett (@Yorkiekid200) June 17, 2020
Covid has become such such a norm I'm not even arsed if we win the title in a empty stadium anymore.
— Liverpoolzy* (@Liverpool_zy) June 17, 2020
Football is back today, life is getting slightly better, all I need now is my 7373728/1 acca to come in at the weekend, up the reds
— dermit (@C_Dermo99) June 17, 2020
Four days until Liverpool are back on the pitch—and the countdown to the title is firmly back on!
Go behind the scenes of Liverpool's latest preparations for the resumption of the Premier League season with Inside Training.
The Reds' campaign restarts on Sunday with a Merseyside derby against Everton.
And, ahead of the short trip to Goodison Park, Jürgen Klopp's squad were put through their paces at Melwood on Wednesday.
LFCTV GO subscribers can watch exclusive footage of the session above.
App users can access the video by clicking here.
Not yet signed up to LFCTV GO? Start a FREE one-month trial to enjoy this video and much more exclusive Reds content now. You can cancel at any time.
Preparations for the Merseyside derby continued at Melwood on Wednesday - and our photographer was there to capture Liverpool's latest training session.
Jürgen Klopp oversaw the workout, with the Premier League leaders' sights set on Sunday's meeting with Everton.
The trip to Goodison Park will mark the resumption of the Reds' season following the enforced break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out 50 photos of Wednesday's session below.
Photos by John Powell
LFC Foundation has launched the LFC x NHS Charities Together range – and items from the collection are available to pre-order now from the club’s official online store.
The charity collection, designed by eight-year-old Daniel from Lancashire, includes special edition T-shirts and hoodies – available in adult and junior sizes – as well as mugs, keyrings and more.
All profits from the collection are to be split equally between NHS Charities Together, supporting NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients, and the LFC Foundation for their response and recovery work throughout the pandemic.
Earlier this month, hundreds of young Reds entered the Big Red LFC Design Competition by painting, colouring and sketching unique designs in the hope of being featured on the special product range of club merchandise.
The winner, Daniel, was crowned champion after impressing first-team manager Jürgen Klopp and captain Jordan Henderson with his creative skills.
The exclusive range features a rainbow football held up by red hands, which demonstrates togetherness and teamwork, along with ‘YNWA’ text and charity logos for LFC Foundation and NHS Charities Together.
Click here to pre-order your LFC x NHS Charities Together merchandise now.
The Premier League finally returns this week after the coronavirus pandemic caused a three-month shutdown.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at each of the club’s state of play upon the resumption.Liverpool (1st)
The Reds have been robbed of winning a first title in 30 years in front of a crowd but at least now they will be able to complete the job on the pitch. Despite something of a wobble before the break, Jurgen Klopp’s men could claim glory in their first game back before aiming to finish with a record points total.Manchester City (2nd)
City may be dethroned as champions but they are the best bet to finish second, despite some patchy form before coronavirus struck. Leroy Sane will be back in the fold after recovering fully from a knee injury. They are still in the FA Cup and will have a Champions League campaign to finish when the domestic scene is settled.Leicester (3rd)
Another crack at Champions League football is within touching distance for Leicester, who will not have been too disappointed with a break. Their form in 2020 was disappointing, but a reset should give them the opportunity to nail down a top-four spot, while they are still challenging for the FA Cup. Their final three games against Sheffield United, Tottenham and Manchester United will decide their fate.Chelsea (4th)
Frank Lampard was on course to deliver a top-four finish in his first season of Premier League management at Chelsea, despite their inconsistent form. The chance for Lampard to work with his young players for an extended period can only help them finish the job when the season resumes.
Games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Sheffield United and Wolves will be decisive, while they are also in the FA Cup and have the formality of a Champions League second leg tie against Bayern Munich, having lost the first 3-0.Manchester United (5th)
United would have been disappointed the season ground to a halt as they were in fine form, on an unbeaten run in all competitions going back to January and looking like they were going to make a Champions League spot their own.
They will have to try to rediscover that momentum, but will be boosted by the return of injured duo Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba. Blockbusting opening clashes with Tottenham and Sheffield United are followed mainly by games against teams in the bottom half, so they have to be fancied for the top four.Wolves (6th)
Wolves were having their best season in recent memory and were firm contenders for the top four and Europa League when the shutdown came. They had been playing to a gruelling schedule due to their European exertions so the rest will have benefited them hugely, along with the league finishing before European ties resume. Adama Traore will be fully fit after shoulder problems, so Wolves will be good to go.Sheffield United (7th)
The Blades were another team who could have done without a break as they were flying and challenging for the European places. Along with an aggressive style of play, they were being carried by the momentum of back-to-back promotions, so it is fascinating to see whether a hiatus will affect that.
Arguably no team has benefited more from a three-month break than Tottenham, whose boss Jose Mourinho was repeatedly saying he wished he could fast-forward to July 1 before the suspension. It has allowed Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Steven Bergwijn, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko to regain their fitness while Mourinho has also had the opportunity of a pre-season.
They have it all to do in the race for the Champions League, but at least now they are at full strength with games to come against teams around them.Arsenal (9th)
It was Mikel Arteta’s contraction of coronavirus that brought the season to a halt back in March and it came at a time when Arsenal were on a roll under the Spaniard. They had hauled themselves back into European contention so, like United, must regain that momentum.
Their game in hand – which is vital to how the season would pan out if it were later to be decided on points-per-game – is away at Manchester City on the first day back but their quest will surely be decided by a four-game run against Wolves, Tottenham, Leicester and Liverpool.Burnley (10th)
Burnley were on a four-game unbeaten run when the season halted that put them four points off Sheffield United in seventh and with an outside chance of reaching the European places.
It seems that the hiatus will not necessarily work in their favour, but with the majority of their games against teams in the bottom half and playing with freedom they will be eyeing a late dash.Crystal Palace (11th)
If Burnley are outsiders for the top seven, then so are Crystal Palace as they are on the same points thanks to a run of three wins prior to the shutdown. Previously they were looking over their shoulders at the bottom three, so it seems impossible to think the south-east London side will have the consistency to be able to overhaul so many teams. But with games against Wolves, Chelsea, Leicester, Manchester United and Tottenham they could have a big say in how the season ends.Everton (12th)
Three games without a win curtailed a good run of form for Everton when the virus came, so their mid-table position means they are one of the few teams with not a lot to play for in the remainder of the campaign. Carlo Ancelotti will use the time to make further judgement on his squad as he looks to build a team that will challenge much higher up the table next season.Newcastle (13th)
Newcastle will feel they need a few more points to be absolutely sure of avoiding the drop and boss Steve Bruce will see it as a nine-game audition should the club’s proposed takeover go through and he has new owners to work with.Southampton (14th)
Sitting seven points above the bottom three means Southampton are looking over their shoulder. The break came at a good time for the south coast side, having lost four out of five, and it has been a positive period away with boss Ralph Hasenhuttl signing a new contract.
They have games against teams below them in the table so should be able to make themselves safe.Brighton (15th)
Brighton will be under pressure to perform once the season resumes having fought so vocally against neutral venues. Without a win in 2020, they are just two points above the drop zone and remaining games at the Amex Stadium against Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Newcastle will surely make them outsiders to stay up.West Ham (16th)
Out of the relegation zone only on goal difference, it is little surprise that West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady led the early calls to null and void the season. The break could help the Hammers considering their miserable run of form prior to it, although games against Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea in their first three back make grim reading.
Their fate might be decided in the final four games, where they play Norwich, Watford and Aston Villa.Watford (17th)
Watford were also vocal critics of the neutral venue proposal as they are also out of the bottom three by virtue of goal difference. A 3-0 walloping of Liverpool aside, their bounce under Nigel Pearson was beginning to wane and they are in deep trouble.
But favourable home games against Southampton, Norwich and Newcastle fuelled the protests and they are likely to have to win all three of those if they are to stay up as they end the season with games against Manchester City and Arsenal.Bournemouth (18th)
Bournemouth were depleted by injuries when the season halted and, sitting in the relegation zone, were staring the Championship in the face. But the likes of David Brooks and Josh King are back in the fold and will be vital to the Cherries’ hopes of staying up. They still have a lot of the big guns to play – including both Manchester clubs and Tottenham – so it is not going to be easy to maintain their Premier League status.Aston Villa (19th)
Never has a game in hand caused as much debate as Aston Villa’s, which seemed crucial to any talk of PPG finishes. They currently sit in the bottom three, but if they win their extra match against Sheffield United then they will be out of it.
They have the influential John McGinn back from injury but a tricky looking fixture list means it is an uphill battle to stay up. They will be hoping to take it to the last day when they face West Ham.Norwich (20th)
Boss Daniel Farke was saying it would be a miracle to stay up as early as Christmas and, sitting six points from safety, they are clear favourites to be relegated. But bigger deficits have been overturned in the past and the hiatus will have presented a good opportunity to hit the reset button and have a real go when the resumption comes.
Three months of football fans waiting patiently are nearly at an end as the Premier League is set to resume on Wednesday with Aston Villa versus Sheffield United and Manchester City taking on Arsenal.
Considering the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, it may be difficult to recall how the 2019-20 season was unfolding – although Liverpool’s domination should still be fresh in the memory.
Here, the PA news agency gives a month-by-month breakdown of what was happening up until the pandemic led to the break.August
Liverpool’s 4-1 win over newly-promoted Norwich started the season on a Friday night while the European champions also saw off Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley. Manchester City’s title defence started convincingly enough by drubbing West Ham 5-0 but a 2-2 draw against Tottenham was overshadowed by Gabriel Jesus’ late winner being ruled out by the video assistant referee, which would go on to be a bone of contention for managers, players and supporters alike over the following months.September
A few months on from leading Watford to the FA Cup final, Javi Gracia was sacked with the Hornets bottom of the embryonic standings. Quique Sanchez Flores was reappointed but just a couple of weeks into his tenure, Watford were thumped 8-0 at Manchester City, who by the end of the month were five points adrift of Liverpool at the top. Jurgen Klopp’s side, by this stage, were still to drop a point as they saw off struggling Newcastle at home before impressive wins at Chelsea and Sheffield United.October
Liverpool’s flawless start to the season was ended at Old Trafford – although Adam Lallana’s late goal rescued a 1-1 draw against Manchester United, who were beaten by Newcastle the previous week to relieve some pressure on Magpies manager Steve Bruce. Leicester equalled the Premier League record for the biggest win as they thumped 10-man Southampton 9-0 to temporarily leapfrog Manchester City into second. The Foxes would continue to remain in the Champions League spots until the season was halted.November
This was a month of significant upheaval in north London. First, with Tottenham sitting in 14th, Mauricio Pochettino was sacked after five years in charge and only a few months on from leading them to the Champions League final. Twenty-four hours later marked the return of the ‘Special One’ as Jose Mourinho was named Pochettino’s successor. Unai Emery was replaced by Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, while Liverpool beat Manchester City and ended the month 11 points clear atop the pyramid.December
Sanchez Flores was ousted just three months into his second stint with Watford, who appointed Nigel Pearson in a bid to lead them off the foot of the pile. Everton and West Ham would make managerial changes as they languished near the bottom, with Marco Silva and Manuel Pellegrini replaced by Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes respectively. The switches would reap some rewards as all three clubs were out of the bottom three before the campaign was shelved.January
At the turn of the year, Liverpool boasted a 13-point lead and they increased that margin by a further six points before the end of January. By that point, a first ever Premier League title and first top-flight crown in 30 years seemed all but a certainty. The only talking point seemed to centre on whether the Merseysiders could emulate Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side from 2003-04. Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea, with Frank Lampard in his first season as Blues manager, occupied the other Champions League qualifying spots, which continues to be the case now.February
Having joined Manchester United on a £47million deal in the January transfer window, Bruno Fernandes started making waves in the north-west as he helped his new club embark on a five-match unbeaten run to reignite their top-four charge. Tottenham, though, started to fall back after a couple of slip-ups and currently sit behind surprise packages Wolves and Sheffield United. Liverpool’s hopes of an unbeaten season went up in smoke after a shock 3-0 defeat at Watford.March
By this point, the public health crisis was starting to lead to real fears the football season would first have to be played behind closed doors, while matters were taken even further on Friday, March 13, when the season was suspended. After beating Bournemouth 2-1, Liverpool sat a mammoth 25 points clear of Manchester City and needed just another two wins to guarantee the title. Norwich propped up the table with Aston Villa second bottom, while Bournemouth lay in the bottom three on goal difference, level on points with Watford and West Ham.
Premier League clubs are prepared to be “guinea pigs” in any phased reopening of stadiums, the competition’s chief executive has said.
The 2019-20 English top-flight season is set to resume on Wednesday evening after a three-month absence due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The remaining 92 matches of this season will be played behind closed doors, with mass gatherings still banned as a consequence of social distancing measures designed to restrict the spread of the virus.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says football will not be “back with a capital B” until fans can return, and that it will be an “odd experience” to see the conclusion to the 2019-20 campaign played out in empty stadiums.
The league is part of cross-sport discussions with Government on the return of fans to stadiums, with an initial meeting taking place last week involving sports minister Nigel Huddleston and deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam.
At this stage discussions have only looked at what the conditions necessary in the country would be to permit a phased reopening of venues, but Masters is keen for the Premier League to play its part in helping with any projects around the reintroduction of supporters.
“It would be wrong for me to start making predictions about when fans might be allowed back in the stadium and on what basis, whether it’s phased or otherwise,” he said.
“But those discussions have started across sports and we are active participants in them. We are keen to offer our experiences, and club perspective to act as guinea pigs for any particular experiments.
“We’re very happy to do all of that, as far as we’re concerned we would like it to happen as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so.”
Liverpool scored 78 goals as they returned to the Premier League top four in 2016-17 – and you can watch them all now in our YouTube compilation.
The Reds secured fourth place, and Champions League qualification, in Jürgen Klopp’s first full season as manager.
See every strike that got them there below…
Liverpool will be looking to go three entire Premier League seasons unbeaten at Anfield when the action resumes.
Ahead of the top-flight restart, we're highlighting a number of different Reds-related subplots to keep track of for the remainder of 2019-20.
Now, we take a look at fortress Anfield, which will host Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Burnley and Chelsea in the coming weeks.
Jürgen Klopp's side last suffered defeat in the league at their home way back in April 2017 when Palace left with three points.
Since then, Liverpool have been unbeatable in the following 55 league fixtures at L4, winning 45 of them.
This current run is the second-best in Premier League history. It's only bettered by Chelsea's 86-game record set between February 2004 and October 2008.
"It's weird, it's sort of just flown in the sense that you don't really take it in," Joe Gomez previously said of the record.
"I think you just see each game as that individual game. But when you look back at that stat, it's special."
Of course, the Reds must continue this magnificent stretch for at least the rest of the campaign without being fuelled by support from the stands.
"We have to do it, unfortunately, without the best boost in the world and the best kick in your ass in the right moment in the world, from the Anfield crowd," Klopp said last month. "But that's how it is.
"I never understood in life why you always want things you don't have, you cannot have. In this moment we cannot have that, so let's take the rest and make the absolute best of it."
Dejan Lovren, meanwhile, insists the passion from fans won't be too far from the mind of the squad during matches.
He said: "We will miss it but we are getting prepared to work for that and to be prepared that when some moments will be hard, we should think about our fans who are sitting at home and cheering about us."
Longest Premier League unbeaten home runs
Chelsea (February 2004 to October 2008) – 86 games
Liverpool (April 2017 to present) – 55 games
Manchester City (December 2010 to December 2012) – 37 games
Manchester United (December 1998 to December 2000) – 36 games
Manchester United (December 1994 to November 1996) – 35 games
More from our countdown series