Last season, the number of articles we penned about Emre Can’s contract situation verged on boring!
The German wouldn’t commit to Liverpool and eventually signed for Juventus on a Bosman. At the time, it seemed like a real negative, considering the midfielder’s potential – but thankfully we bought Fabinho at the beginning of the summer. The Brazilian is a serious upgrade, and most Reds haven’t given Can a thought this term.
At the time, however, our interest was huge. Can played 26 times in the Premier League in 2017/18, some of which were from the bench.
This season, James Milner has already played the exact same number of games, with six remaining in the top flight.
But the ageing Englishman’s deal is also expiring in a matter of months – and nobody seems to care or realise!
Milner might not be the first name on every Liverpool fan’s team-sheet, but crucially, in the biggest games, he very often is on Jurgen Klopp’s. The manager trusts Milner implicitly and prefers to use him from the start than the enigmatic Xherdan Shaqiri, £50m Naby Keita or his formerly favourite player Adam Lallana.
If we could fast forward to a prospective Champions League Final this term, you can bet Milner would be one of the three starting names in the middle of the park.
So why has the club not offered him an extension? His deal officially runs out in 2019, but there are suggestions there is an option for the club to extend until 2020, so perhaps they plan on doing just this at a later date – but it does feel like it’s being left a little late!
We’d happily keep Milner as a squad player for next season. He’s still the fittest player at Melwood so the fact he’s approaching his 34th birthday shouldn’t be a problem.
As a substitute to shore up the midfield, he’s more than capable. And his role in the squad as a leader shouldn’t be underestimated. Let’s get it done, Liverpool!