Premier League • England

Klopp warns ‘nobody should overlook’ major Milner trait which factored in new Liverpool contract

James Milner, Jordan Henderson Liverpool May 2022

Jurgen Klopp hailed the “quality” James Milner still possesses as a player as a major reason Liverpool wanted to keep the 36-year-old.

Milner has proved a fantastic servant for the Reds since his 2015 arrival as a free agent from Manchester City. He is closing in on 300 appearances for the club and despite his age, he is showing no signs of slowing down.

The midfielder made another 39 appearances for Liverpool this season as they secured a domestic cup double. Twenty-four of those came in the Premier League as he helped the Anfield club to finish with 92 points.

Milner insisted that his “overriding feeling” was that he could still contribute to Liverpool. He added that Klopp made clear he wants the midfielder around again next season.

And explaining his thoughts on the extension, Klopp lauded the importance of the midfielder. However, he made clear that, despite his age, Milner can continue to influence far more than just the dressing room.

“I am delighted by this news. It’s important for us – all of us,” Klopp told his club’s official website.

“A lot is often made of James’ leadership skills and his influence in the dressing room, and of course that’s correct and justified, but nobody should overlook his quality on the pitch, where he continues to perform to a level that meant we simply couldn’t afford to lose him.

“His professionalism is the benchmark for any athlete and it’s why he sets the tone for this team with his ability and attitude.”

Klopp added that Milner “only got better and stronger” as Liverpool’s gruelling 63-game campaign went on.

Klopp on Milner, Liverpool talks

Liverpool midfielder James Milner

“Typically, the discussions we had around extending his contract were centred on: what kind of contribution do we see him making as a player?” the manager added.

“My answer to him was the same I’ll share with supporters: we don’t limit it.

“We just want the same from him again, because that’s not possible to replace. He can still do it and we still need it.

“So I’m grateful he answered the call and agreed to give us the extra year of his extraordinary career. More to come.”

New contract perfect for Liverpool

Milner’s new contract is fantastic news for Liverpool. While at the age of 36 he is approaching the end of his career, the midfielder has all the know-how of top level football.

He can therefore continue to influence games himself, as well as passing that knowledge onto Liverpool’s younger talents.

On the pitch, his performance away at Newcastle in April summed his professionalism up. Klopp made nine changes to his team, Milner being one of them, in between Champions League semi-final commitments.

However, Milner stepped up to the plate and dominated the midfield to help the Reds secure a 1-0 win.

Off the pitch, Liverpool have a host of young midfield talent coming through. Curtis Jones is in the first team alongside Harvey Elliott, with new signing Fabio Carvalho hoping to make his mark.

Milner can guide the trio next season as Liverpool look to evolve their midfield.