Outgoing Liverpool midfielder James Milner has apparently revealed that Jurgen Klopp wanted him to stay past this season.
The 37-year-old was this week one of four players confirmed to be leaving the club following the expiry of his contract at the end of June, ending his impressive eight-year stay at Anfield.
Milner was an outstanding professional during his stay at Merseyside and was rightfully awarded a guard of honor from the rest of his teammates after the full-time whistle. Chants of ‘there’s only one James Milner’ swept through the stadium shortly afterwards, a clear indication of how highly regarded the 37-year-old’s fans are.
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Some supporters had hoped the 2019 Champions League winner would sign another one-year contract extension, as he did last summer, and Milner seems to have hinted that Klopp would have kept him at the club had he been empowered to do that. The veteran midfielder spoke about his imminent departure with LFCTV, saying: “It would be a shame to quit when you still have a little life left in you. Jürgen Klopp is a pretty good manager and the fact that he still wanted me here, said I can still do a job I like I haven’t started a ton of games this year but I feel like I contributed when asked.
“Obviously the club has made a decision on that. It’s nice that I’m in a position where the manager wanted me to stay, but it got to the point where I agreed. [with it].”
Introduced in the 72nd minute on Saturday afternoon as the Reds looked to turn the Aston Villa game upside down, Milner earned one last home appearance as he approached the end of his eight-year stay at the club.
Brighton is expected to win the race for the highly experienced professional, although Leeds United are believed to be among the other sides interested in a deal. All but confirming he will stay in the division into the next campaign, Milner told BBC Sport after the 1-1 draw at BBC Sport: “It was a special moment. I’ve been lucky enough to have a pretty good time here. It’s a special place. Maybe I’ll play here again, who knows.”
Reflecting on his successful spell at Liverpool, where the former Manchester City man claimed the biggest trophies, he added: “The trophy Liverpool always wanted was the league title and to leave after eight years and have done that, that is what you hope. happens. I think every time you win a trophy it’s special. It’s what a club like this requires. The league title was the one we wanted and to get it was special.
“I’ve had an incredible time here. I’m happy. Happy with the track and the team I’ve been part of and the success we’ve contributed to the history of the club. One more game to go, it would be nice to finish to close with a win. I’ve been available most of the year, did my part and still feel good. Age is just a number.”
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