Liverpool will reportedly do their best to refuse any offers from other clubs for James Milner in the January transfer window. While Milner has only had two Premier League starts so far this season, his performance (and captaincy) against Maribor was definitely a reminder of why he remains a fundamental part of Klopp’s squad.
There was apparently plenty of opportunity for him to move on from Anfield in the summer — both Newcastle and Leicester City voiced their interest vociferously. But Milner remained committed to Anfield regardless of what position Klopp played him in, as long as he could play.
With Moreno and Andy Robertson both vying for left-back (and Moreno looking surer and surer in games), Milner is competing against Can and Gini for his preferred position in midfield. But with what we saw against Maribor, Milner’s stabilising presence in the centre of the field may just be the jolt Liverpool need to start winning games again.
Milner’s own leadership abilities aside, there’s also the fact that Can’s contract negotiations still resemble a giant shrug emoji, and he continues to make avoidable mistakes and have lapses in concentration when he really, really shouldn’t. Milner’s record isn’t perfect, but the vice-captain has consistently shown that he wants to contribute in any way possible and is as committed as can be to Liverpool and the team that Klopp is building.
It seems unlikely Klopp will let a player with those qualities walk away from the club any time soon.