With a handful of senior players on the move this summer, including longtime captain and club legend Steven Gerrard, it was clear that Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool would need to bring in more established squad members. There's plenty of young talent for the years to come, but if Rodgers' side were going to rebound from a disappointing campaign domestically and in Europe, players ready to make an impact from the start were top of the agenda.
So it wasn't surprising that James Milner had been made the top priority, and agreeing terms on a deal to bring him to Liverpool on a free after his Manchester City contract expired was the first move the club made this summer. It proved a good fit for both parties; despite City's hopes that he'd stay at the Eastlands, Milner desired more regular playing time in a central midfield role, and Rodgers' Liverpool were looking for a player who had experience and the ability to influence a squad with hopes of a top four finish.
Those hopes are shared by the player, who shared his delight at a central midfield role and sees Champions League qualification as legitimate possibility for his new club:
"Two years ago Liverpool nearly won the title, so it's not that closed. It's hard for every team in the Premier League to get in the top four - it is so hard to win just one game. It is tough and to go and win the Premier League is even harder. But everything is there for us to be successful - the ground the fans, the manager, the players - everything is there and Liverpool FC is used to being successful. Being here and seeing the quality here, everything's there for us.
"This move was a selfish move for me. Obviously playing at City and playing in different positions - the team will always come first, that's the way I believe it should be, no matter where you are. But I think the move to come to Liverpool and take that mantle on myself was more of a selfish move and hopefully I can do well and contribute to success at Liverpool. I'd like to think you will see the best of me now I am in the central role."
That's a significant amount of privilege to give a new signing, but it's clear that Rodgers brought Milner in to try to replace some of Gerrard's status. It wouldn't be surprising if the vice-captaincy was given to Milner in the coming days, with strong rumors that the manager will name the former Newcastle, Aston Villa, and City man as Jordan Henderson's deputy.
Hopefully his role--one of significant influence despite the fact that his time on Merseyside is in its infancy--at the club proves success for all involved.
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