Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gives update on James Milner’s future amid retirement talk

James Milner has 600 Premier League appearances to his name (Photo: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp says he wants James Milner to sign a new contract at Liverpool, with the veteran player’s current deal expiring in the summer.

Milner joined Liverpool on a free back in 2015 and played a crucial role in the early years of Klopp’s reign at Anfield, winning the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League the following season.

Over the past few years however, the former England international’s influence on the pitch has lessened, and now at the age of 37 some have wondered if the versatile midfielder’s career is finally at an end.

Though he has made 21 appearances this campaign, only eight of them have been starts, while the Reds’ recent struggles have led many to call for a rejuvenation of Klopp’s squad, particularly in the midfield.

But the manager is convinced that the club should retain Milner’s services for a little while longer, claiming that his work off the pitch will be hard to replace and hinting that a coaching role could be on the cards for his vice-captain.

‘We have different plans for Milly but Milly wants to keep playing and when you see him play the other night [against Wolves in the FA Cup] I think everyone will understand that,’ Klopp said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

‘You can’t judge him normal for his age. Yes, he is 37, but he doesn’t look a day like this. When he is in training he is there full throttle.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp values Milner very highly (Photo: Getty)

‘He is an incredibly important player and in this game you saw it on the pitch as well. It is not that Milly expects to play 64 games a season but in 64 games a season Milly could be extremely important.

‘Even a player whose had a few clubs can end up at this club and I could consider Liverpool his club and that means I am pretty sure the club should use his character and his mindset as it is really special.

‘There might be more fancy players out there but no one with a similar mindset and that makes him incredibly valuable for us and that is not because I am too loyal.’

With 600 appearances to his name, Milner is the fourth most experienced player in Premier League history having turned out for Leeds, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Liverpool.

The Reds have several players whose contracts expire in the summer, including midfield duo Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and given the uncertainty around the club’s owners and how much they can spend, it may be wise to renew Milner’s deal.

For now though, Milner is in contention to feature in Saturday’s pivotal clash against Chelsea, as Liverpool look to get their season back on track.

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