Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

James Milner becomes temporary Manchester United fan as Liverpool seek favour against Manchester City

Midfielder has played for United's three biggest rivals - but will support the club 'for the first time' on Wednesday

James Milner, right, scored from the penalty spot against Cardiff City to return Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table. Reuters
James Milner, right, scored from the penalty spot against Cardiff City to return Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table. Reuters

Liverpool midfielder James Milner has said he will briefly become a Manchester United fan for the first time when they take on Premier League title rivals Manchester City on Wednesday.

Milner has played for United's three biggest rivals during his career, starting out at Leeds United before stints at City and now Liverpool.

City trail Liverpool by two points in the table, with Pep Guardiola's side playing their game in hand against United at Old Trafford. Anything less than a win and three points will put the title destiny in Liverpool's hands with three games remaining, and Milner has admitted he will be rooting for a United win.

"First time in my life," Milner said about his support for United this week. "But I won't be watching. It's a bit of a waste of energy, willing the ball in the other goal.

"I can't do anything about it. I'll maybe put my phone away for a few hours and check it after. I've no idea what I'll do, maybe go out for some food."

Liverpool maintained their challenge for a first domestic title since 1990 with a 2-0 victory at Cardiff City on Sunday.

Milner converted a late penalty to score his seventh goal of the season and secure a precious three points.

Liverpool have relegated Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers to play at home and Newcastle United away.

City's remaining fixtures, meanwhile, are at United, Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion, and at home to Leicester City.

On City's run-in, Milner said: "There's three games left after that (United). People think United is a challenge, but it's not the only one.

"It's an old cliche, but the Premier League is tough - whoever you play, teams battling at the bottom.

"Go back to QPR (when Milner won the title at Man City on the final day) and it's not easy when you're playing to win a league title.

Liverpool's win at Cardiff was their 27th from 35 games and set a new Premier League points record for the club.

The Reds now have 88 points, two more than Rafael Benitez's side managed 10 years ago in finishing runners-up to Manchester United.

"We just need to win the rest of our games," Milner said. "If we do that and it's not good enough then you have to hold your hands up and say 'well done City'.

"They are a top team, they have done it before and are grinding it out. It's frustrating to think we've had one defeat all year and it might not be enough. But all we can do is win the rest of our games and put them under pressure."

Updated: April 23, 2019 12:23 PM

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