The 2022-23 season will be James Milner’s 21st as a Premier League football player and his eighth as a Red and having already played more seasons and more games for Liverpool than any other club in what has been a long and storied 814 games and counting career.
Heading into the summer, there was some speculation the 36-year-old might favour a return to the club he started out at, Leeds United. In the end, though, Milner says while he was in no rush to sign a new deal, his preference was always staying with the Reds.
“I think the part of the season we were in there were so many games and such big things, it is a big decision and something you don’t really want to take at that time,” he noted. “It was something I didn’t really think about too strongly until the end of the season.
“Speaking to the club, they were happy with that. It was always my preference to stay. Then you see the reaction of the fans [after the Champions League final] on the parade and the support we get. it was a special day and shows what the club and the city is all about.”
Major silverware will again be the target, as it was last season when the Reds came within two games of a historic quadruple. And a new season and all the sides around them looking to strengthen always means some uncertainty, Liverpool are in a privileged position.
There are always changes, players who leave and new ones who arrive, but this is a group that have been one of the top clubs in all of football for a number of years now—they’re the group that everyone else is trying to catch up with, often from a long way back.
“I think it’s the same every season, it’s always tricky,” Milner added. “It’s the same for every team and it’s never easy. It’s a new season, you’re not going to go in knowing exactly where you are. All we can do is what we’ve done every year: work as hard as possible.
“It helps, the group we’ve had. We’ve been together a long time, with a few additions obviously. We’ve been through pre-seasons before, we’ve been through ups and downs; we’ve won trophies, lost trophies. That definitely helps going into a new season.”