Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reportedly offered veteran midfielder James Milner a coaching role in a desperate attempt to keep him at the club.
The 37-year-old is expected to join Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer at the end of the season. Now, his departure is set to leave a void in the Reds’ dressing room.
Milner will not be the only player to leave Liverpool for nothing this summer, either.
Indeed, Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita will all follow the England international out the exit door. So, Liverpool will have to bring in replacements for all of them.
Milner has played over 330 games for the Merseyside club, winning seven major trophies in the process. The midfielder is widely regarded as Liverpool’s best-ever free signing, after making the switch from Manchester City in 2015.
Now, with Milner expected to join Brighton, Klopp will no doubt miss his leadership qualities in the dressing room, even if he isn’t the force he was on the pitch.
For now, though, Milner and Klopp’s focus will be on finishing the season as well as possible.
Milner turns down Liverpool coaching role
According to the Mirror, Klopp offered Milner a coaching role at Liverpool, before he made the decision to leave at the end of the season.
They add that the manager was ‘desperate’ to keep the experienced player at Anfield. However, a fresh contract offer (on playing terms) never materialised. As a result, Milner is set for a new challenge elsewhere.
As mentioned, Brighton are the big favourites to sign Milner on a free transfer. But, Leeds United and, surprisingly, Liverpool’s bitter rivals Everton have also registered an interest.
In the past, Klopp has hailed Milner as one of the most important players in his squad, thanks to his influence as a ‘role model.’
“Milly is Milly, is incredibly important for us. People talk about the dressing room [influence] and yes, he is really helpful there,” Klopp told reporters last year.
“Especially with a manager who is not a native speaker.
“No [when asked if he’d met a fitter 37-year-old], but it would be interesting to look at Luka Modric – obviously, a good generation!
“It’s difficult to be fitter than Milly and he’s a role model.”
“I told him and I can tell the whole world: Nothing we would have achieved in the last few years would have happened without James Milner, if he’s on the pitch or not.
“He sets the standards in a way a lot of people can set standards. Educated all of us.”
Nevertheless, Milner is set to depart Liverpool after eight incredibly successful years at Anfield.