Liverpool must overcome Milner contract hesitation to fulfil Jurgen Klopp plan – opinion

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James Milner could be set to depart Liverpool this summer as part of a swathe of contract expirations that will likely also see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita swept up amongst the expected exits.

The Englishman remains admired by Jurgen Klopp regardless, it is understood by The Athletic (as has been relayed by the Liverpool Echo’s report on the matter), despite the club’s clear need for fresh legs in the midfield and, indeed, despite the player’s age (37).

Though opposition to the prospect of the Englishman signing a fresh contract is completely understandable in light of the ageing nature of the midfield, one might argue that the club cannot afford to lose his vast experience in the game.

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The German tactician himself admitted that he couldn’t see the former Leeds United and Manchester City man featuring regularly in a campaign – nor should he have to, and the fact that he’s featured 32 times (albeit only accruing just over 1,000 minutes) already yet further indicates the clear need for midfield reinforcements.

“We have different plans for Milly, but Milly wants to keep playing,” the 55-year-old was quoted as saying by the aforementioned publication. “And when you see him play the other night (against Wolves), I think everyone understands that. You can’t judge him because of his age or whatever.”

We at Empire of the Kop would take those comments to suggest an intention to steer Milner on to a coaching pathway at the club, which we’d be inclined to argue would be of great value in ensuring that the German’s high standards persist beyond the end of his reign.

It’s not a thought we wish to consider deeply and we certainly hope that the former Borussia Dortmund head coach has it in him to keep hold of the reins potentially beyond his refreshed contract expiration date of 2026, though it makes sense to further reinforce our coaching team with individuals in possession of sound leadership skills and a broad understanding of the game.

Having spent the better part of a decade learning under Klopp, the ex-England international would arguably be a prime candidate to take the next step at Liverpool once he hangs up his playing boots.

It’s worth pointing out that any updated agreement with Milner would have to be feasible on top of any additions our recruitment team feel are necessary to get us back involved in the title race next term.

Should it obstruct any such business, we’d have to sharply change our position on the matter,  but in the meantime, an extension agreed on the basis of our midfield veteran opting to step into coaching either on a part-time basis next term or full-time beyond 2023/24 could represent a smart use of the player’s vast experience.

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