BT Sport pundit Martin Keown has suggested that James Milner should not play in Liverpool's final Premier League match on Sunday in order to ensure his availability for the Champions League final against Read Madrid.
The Reds have only won one Premier League game in their last five. A failure to win or draw against Brighton on final day could leave them out of the top four, if Chelsea beat Newcastle. However, with the risk of failing to failing to finish in the Champions League spots minimal, Keown reckons Jurgen Klopp should manage smartly and try to protect his best players from potential injury as they look toward the European showdown.
"Liverpool go into the final day of the league season knowing a draw against Brighton will secure their top four spot but it will be in the back of the players’ minds that they do not want to get injured," he wrote in the Daily Mail on Thursday.
"I missed Arsenal’s Cup Winners’ Cup victory in 1994 after getting injured in the league game beforehand.
"The Liverpool players have also seen two of their team-mates, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, suffer injury recently. They are going to have to manage their energy well. Even though the final is a fortnight after the Brighton game, the likes of James Milner should not be playing on Sunday.
"After missing that final in 1994, I vowed to never miss another through injury. I learned that I had to be a bit more sensible in the games leading up to finals.
"While you have to still do the job that is expected of you, it is important to protect yourself."