You’d never know it but James Milner is old. That’s right. He’s 33-years-old but still looks as young and spry as that boy from Leeds United all those years ago. Milner has been crucial to all the positive things that have happened at Liverpool since his arrival. The club were able to wait on buying a quality left back and put the cash into other positions because Milner could do a job as a full back. His experience is surely priceless in the dressing room and in training with the younger players.
But. Milner’s contract is up next summer. The club are said to have opened discussions with Milner and his agent about the player’s future but there’s nothing much happening yet.
Jürgen Klopp has praised Milner over the years as much as he’s praised Roberto Firmino. I know. The manager is clearly a big fan. But the club comes first and the vibe I’m getting from these Klopp quotes is that we might want to be prepared for a season 20/21 without Millie.
“Nobody is nervous, we are in talks constantly,” said Klopp.
“It is really early and we have time to do things with all the players, the relationship is very trustful. We don’t hide information from them, they know always about the situation.”
I wasn’t nervous before but I'm feeling very nervous now. But how is Millie?
“He is now really calm,” Klopp said, “and fine with his career and how it has worked out. But he is still there making the next step. He is very ambitious and that is his nature and that helps a lot for us. It makes it even more important because he can play five positions. He is incredibly important for us and that is how it is. It should not be a surprise he is like, this. It is an important time for him of course and we will see how we deal with that.”
That sounds a little more positive. Because Milner is important. He’s slowing down, sure, but he understands the game. He’s looking at the matrix code when he’s on the pitch.
But winning is everything. And that means making decisions that help achieve that goal. Michael Edwards will be looking at all the options, you can be sure of that. But, hey, Milner could walk next summer. Or he could sign a short term extension by January. I’m nervous again.
“Like always, if you have a squad, you only think about it for the next two or three years and you have to make some decisions,” said Klopp.
“If you want to bring something new in or keep what you have, that is how it is. Now it is just in general how you plan the squad. Where do we have the biggest need or space? A replacement for him or an improvement, whichever player it is, that is what you do. We need the financial situation for it because you cannot spend big every year.”