Mark Lawrenson believes that our signing of James Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City will prove to be key both on and off the pitch. The England international will join us at the start of next month when his contract at the Etihad Stadium expires and Lawrenson, speaking in the Liverpool Echo, is feeling optimistic.
Five candidates to be the next Liverpool captain – with Jordan Henderson & James Milner
Crazy or clever? Making the case for Liverpool signing Milner, Ings and Bogdan
A realistic Liverpool signing from every Copa America squad: including Tevez and Bundesliga star
The BBC Sport pundit expects Milner’s experience to be vital following the departures of Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson. He hopes that the deal will be the first of many for the Reds this summer and will act as a statement of intent about our ambitions – helping attract a higher calibre of player in the process.
He said: “James Milner is a very good signing for Liverpool. Now let’s hope is the first of many. There are many reasons why Milner makes sense. He is very experienced, and is versatile enough to play in several positions.
“He’s also rarely injured, has a consistent high level of performance and, from what I’ve heard, was a popular and consummate professional in the Manchester City dressing room.”
Liverpool have also been strongly linked with Burnley striker Danny Ings (via the Echo) and Bolton Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Bogdan (via the Echo), but the Reds fans are crying out for news of a marquee arrival, something Lawrenson still feels that we need.
“We need to ship in more players like him. Milner is the type of player we need, someone with experience, which is lacking in our squad now the likes of Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson have departed.
“Liverpool need to redress that balance. Milner is also a winner. He knows what it takes to play in a side that lifts trophies. He is old school, and comes across as a Northern lad who just wants to play football.
“That’s not doing him a disservice. It just underlines the fact he is a no-nonsense player who is quite happy to put his head down and get stuck in. What you see is what you get. He doesn’t shirk. And on the pitch he is a tough, tough character. And that’s something Liverpool have sorely missed in recent months.
“Milner’s signing will also help attract other players to join. They’ll see him choose Liverpool above staying at City, and take that as a sign there must be positive vibes coming from Anfield. It’s still a place to be.”