The 36-year-olds current deal expires at the end of the season, but Klopp is keen to keep the midfielder beyond that
Liverpool are ready to open talks with James Milner over a new contract at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
The midfielder’s current deal expires at the end of the season, but the Reds boss hopes the 36-year-old will agree to at least a one-year extension.
Discussions are planned for the coming weeks, with Milner keen to continue his playing career and still of the belief that he is capable of operating at the highest level despite his advancing years.
What has Klopp said?
Asked about the situation surrounding Milner, Klopp told reporters: “There are talks, but like always, we usually don’t comment further on that.
“But yes, the club will be in talks with Milly, so we will see.
“There is no chance that Milly will retire next year. He’s desperate to play on, and I understand that, because life after your career is much longer than your career. So you should extend your career as long as you can, if you can still play football.
“Milly will be fine after his career as well, but he obviously loves what he’s doing. He will play football next year, definitely.”
What does Milner want to do?
Milner joined Liverpool on a free transfer from Manchester City in 2015, and he has since played a vital role as Klopp’s side have established themselves as one of the best in the business.
He has made 273 appearances for the Reds, operating in a variety of different positions. He is the vice-captain, and is viewed internally as one of the club’s standard-bearers in terms of attitude, fitness and training mentality. His role as a mentor to younger players, in particular, is respected and appreciated by Klopp.
Milner signed a two-and-a-half year contract extension in December 2019 and has made 23 appearances in all competitions so far this season, although only 10 of those have been starts.
There have long been suggestions that Leeds, his first club, would look to take him back to Elland Road if possible, while it is certain that there will be other Premier League clubs interested, should he choose to leave Liverpool.
However, an offer of an extension from the Reds would give him a decision to make. He believes he can still operate at the highest level, but the emergence of players such as Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones means competition for midfield places at Anfield is fiercer than ever.
What about Liverpool’s other expiring contracts?
There has, as it stands, been no further progress with regards to the clutch of other players whose deals are running down.
Mohamed Salah is the most high-profile of those, with the Egyptian into the final 18 months of his contract. Liverpool are keen to agree an extension, with a deal which will make Salah the highest-paid player in the club’s history, but as yet no solution has been reached.
GOAL understands that there have been no formal talks with either Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino, both of whom are in the same position as Salah. Both players are said to be relaxed about their situation, though it has been described by sources as “highly unlikely” that all three forwards will renew at Anfield. Firmino has been linked with Barcelona recently, while Real Madrid are long-time admirers of Mane.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita will also be out of contract in 2023, while Divock Origi’s deal runs out at the end of this season. The Belgian could trigger an automatic one-year extension, should he hit a certain number of games this season – he is currently on 10 appearances, though hasn’t featured since December due to injury.