Jürgen Klopp has never been shy about expressing his love for James Milner. The ageless midfielder has been a constant fixture in Klopp’s Liverpool side, and has continued to earn minutes for the Reds despite growing calls to move on from the 37-year-old.
With an expected midfield reconstruction coinciding with Milner’s contract coming to an end this summer, it’s easy to assume he could be in his final few months with LFC. However, if a recent report from Football Insider is to be believed, Klopp could be pushing to give the record holder for assists in a Champions League campaign one more year at Anfield.
According to the report, Klopp wants the LFC brass to offer Milner a one-year extension similar to the one he was offered when his previous contract expired last summer. With a transition in midfield expected, it’s believed Klopp would like to keep Milner’s leadership and presence in the dressing room to help usher in a new era.
Additionally, while Milner doesn’t provide the same level of play he did in his prime, he is still capable of filling holes all over the pitch in a pinch, and clearly has the trust of the manager as he has amassed 32 more appearances for LFC this season despite his declining skill set.
It’s not hard to see the value of keeping Milner around for at least one more year. He shouldn’t be relied on to eat up heavy minutes, but his ability to fill in all over the pitch when injuries start piling up is a very valuable asset. As long as his minutes are restricted to when he is truly needed to either conserve the legs of other players or plug holes when options are limited, there is a place for him in this side.
More importantly, the intangibles he provides to the squad, especially one that is likely to experience growing pains as a result of the expected transition of heavy contributions from new faces, can’t be understated. The high level of trust Klopp places on him should be enough to convince anyone that the elder statesman is worth keeping around for one last hurrah.