City v Liverpool Man of the Match: James Milner
James Milner made a man of the match winning debut in the 3-0 win over Liverpool back in 2010 and he repeated the trick for the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ men on Sunday.
It wasn’t just James’s pin-point cross for Edin Dzeko’s opening goal that earned him the plaudits, but his inimitable blend of industry and creativity on the right flank which characterised a typically wholehearted showing from the 27–year old.
Let’s examine the factors that led to Milner becoming our latest Spotlight subject.
Heart and soul...
Telepgrah Football Correspondent Henry Winter led the tributes to Milner, stating that his performance will have given Roy Hodgson plenty to mull over ahead of England's friendly against Brazil on Wednesday.
"Pablo Zabaleta and James Milner were not far behind Agüero in influence for City," Winter scribed.
"Zabaleta was again a resolute leader. Milner created the first for Dzeko, and ran tirelessly throughout for his team.
"When he [Hodgson] receives a report and DVD of this game, he will learn that Milner is in good form..."
Meanwhile, James Lawton of the Independent described Milner's crucial contribution to the game's first goal.
"The idea that in the wake of the Mario Balotelli misadventure, City might indeed regain a little more obvious purpose and professional authority, did surface briefly in the early going," Lawton wrote.
"It came with James Milner's aggressive work along the left and a perfectly placed cross for Edin Dzeko to open the scoring."
In James's words
"Two points lost today, as we have to pretty much win every game now. Liverpool were always going to be a difficult game, and I think the two goals from Sergio Aguero and Stevie G were outstanding, so maybe a draw was fair," Milner surmised.
"When we are on top of games we should be putting teams to bed. Everyone says how difficult it is to defend your title, but as a player you do not think about it."
While stats don't tell the whole story, they can shed an interesting light on a player's contribution - check out these chin-stroking tidbits courtesy of must-follow Twitter account, OptaCity and from City's Sport Science team.
Creative force: James created five goalscoring opportunities which was more than any other player on the pitch.
Assassin’s creed: Milner has scored from three of his four shots on target this season - matching his tally from last season already.
Special delivery: James has the most accurate crosses from open play in the squad (16).
Dog fight: Yesterday, James won 100% of his aerial duels - unsurprisingly, the highest % in the squad.
In the Mixer: James averages an attempted open play cross once ever 16.07 minutes - this is the highest of any City player and the 6th highest of any Premier League player who has played over 800minutes so far this season.
Finally, just in case you're not completely convinced by our latest Spotlight subject, we find out just what was said about James's performance on Twitter last night.
Join us for the next Spotlight feature after Saturday's visit to St Mary's to take on Southampton.