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Rodgers hails Milner's leadership, mentality

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers lauded midfielder James Milner for his performances and much-needed leadership early in the season.

Milner has played every minute of Liverpool's three Premier League matches, his contributions in central midfield helping them to a solid seven points to start the season.

The England international's experience, including two league titles with Manchester City, has also added to Rodgers' squad particularly after Steven Gerrard's departure.

Rodgers, speaking ahead of Saturday's clash against West Ham at Anfield, said the 29-year-old had added more than just playing quality to his team.

"James Milner has been absolutely exceptional," the Northern Irishman said.

"You know he is a good player but you don't realise how good he is until he comes into your club.

"He is a proper man how tough he is, but he is an outstanding footballer and he has added massively to the squad in terms of mentality.

"He is a winner and his work with the players has been outstanding on and off the field."

Rodgers said all of his experienced off-season additions had been crucial, with Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke having, like Milner, played every minute so far.

The 42-year-old also lauded the character of his other signings, having seen teenage defender Joe Gomez impress early in the campaign.

"Nathaniel Clyne has been playing in teams at competition level since he was 17 and he has experience of the Premier League," Rodgers said.

"He is coming in with that experience, Christian Benteke has been here [in England] three years and understands the Premier League.

"These are guys who are coming in with a real good pedigree and experience and a certain mentality. You need it at this level. The talent alone is not enough. You need to have character.

"The expectancy here is huge. Whether you play good, bad or indifferent you will be in the headlines and for new players especially that can be difficult early on.

"This season it was about really focusing in on our goals and ensuring the talent we have is matched by the character."