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New Liverpool contract for Milner? Klopp hints 'incredibly valuable' veteran could stay at Anfield next season

02:30 GMT+4 21/01/2023
James Milner Liverpool 2023
Jurgen Klopp says he would like the “incredibly valuable” James Milner to stay at Liverpool beyond the end of his current contract.
  • Milner's deal expires this summer
  • 37-year-old keen to keep playing
  • Firmino also in line for extension

WHAT HAPPENED? Milner’s deal expires at the end of the season, but Klopp wants to keep him at Anfield and believes he is still capable of playing a part for the club despite turning 37 earlier this month. Milner has made 21 appearances in all competitions this season, deputising at right back as well as in his preferred midfield role. And while there is an acceptance that Liverpool need fresh blood and new signings this summer, Klopp believes they would be losing a lot in terms of mentality, professionalism and character should they allow their vice-captain to leave.

WHAT THEY SAID: Klopp told reporters: “We have different plans for Milly but Milly wants to keep playing, and when you see him play the other night [against Wolves] I think everyone understands that. You can’t judge him normal for his age. He is 37, but he doesn’t look a day like this when he is in training. He is an incredibly important player and in this game (Wolves) you saw on the pitch as well.”

He added: “It is not that Milly expects to play 64 games a season but in a 64-game season Milly could be extremely important. That is how it is. Milly has reached 600 games and most of them were for Liverpool. Even a player who had a few clubs can end up at ‘his’ club and I would consider Liverpool as ‘his’ club, and I am pretty sure the club should use his character and his mindset because 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 it is not because I am ‘too loyal’; it is just a fact.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Liverpool also expect Roberto Firmino to extend his eight-year stay on Merseyside, with the club, at Klopp's request, ready to offer the Brazilian a new one-year contract, with an option of a second. Midfielder Naby Keita is also out of contract in June, and there is a possibility of him extending, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to depart on a free transfer.

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WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? The Reds host Chelsea in the Premier League at Anfield on Saturday, needing a win to keep their fading hopes of a top-four finish alive.