Football News

Liverpool warned they would be “absolutely crazy” to let UCL-record holder go

By Ben Green

Published: 19:13, 23 May 2019

Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has urged the club to pen fresh terms with James Milner as the midfielder approaches the end of his contract.

Milner, 33, will see his present deal at Anfield expire next month and there are suggestions he could leave Merseyside, with boyhood club Leeds United a possible destination.

Could Milner leave Liverpool? Five key things to know…

  1. Despite playing a key role for the Reds this season Milner is yet to sign a contract extension.
  2. The 33-year-old has racked up 44 appearances across 2018/19, including 11 in Europe.
  3. His versatility has seen him slot in to various roles at the club and he could start in the Champions League final against Spurs next month.
  4. With no new deal confirmed, Milner’s former club Leeds United have been linked with his signature.
  5. However, the Whites failed to gain promotion to the Premier League, which could scupper any potential deal.

The seasoned midfielder has been influential in Jurgen Klopp’s system as the Reds finished runners-up in the Premier League and await a Champions League final on June 1.

Of the Reds’ 12 matches in the continent’s elite competition, Milner has started during 10 of those, missing just the single game, while scoring two – both against Paris Saint-Germain – and registering two assists.

It has therefore been another sensational season for the reliable midfielder, and Liverpool fans will certainly have reason to be concerned about his possible departure, with Nicol believing the club would be “absolutely crazy” to see him walk out.

Working as a pundit for ESPN, he said: “Absolutely no chance he goes anywhere other than his car to drive to Anfield to sign a new deal.

“It would be absolutely crazy, he’s been a huge part of this year again.

“Regardless of his age, Liverpool will need him next year.

“Maybe he won’t play as many games, but he’ll be needed for cover all around the field.”

Last season, the Englishman delivered eight assists in the Champions League en route to the final, equaling the competition’s record for most in a single campaign, joining Wayne Rooney in 2013/14 and Neymar in 2016/17.

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‘Origi will be sold’

Nicol went on to speculate whether some of the other Liverpool players whose futures remain in serious doubt will be at the club next season.

Divock Origi, who famously scored twice during Liverpool’s remarkable turnaround against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final second leg, could be set to leave this summer despite his heroics, and Nicol would welcome the sale.

He said: “He has to go. From a Liverpool point of view, they can’t let him go until they actually have a replacement because they’re pretty thin on the ground when it comes to front players or certainly front players with the quality that is needed.

“He will go, Liverpool will have been looking around and have some names.”