James Milner has confirmed Liverpool owners FSG overruled Jurgen Klopp over a potential contract extension, and the midfielder will get a shot at revenge with a direct Premier League rival next season.
Milner, 37, is among four players who’ve already seen their Liverpool exits confirmed this summer. Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also depart as free agents, while the Reds have opted against activating the £32m option to buy in Arthur Melo’s loan from Juventus.
Fabio Carvalho could join the exodus via the loan route and has an admirer in newly-promoted Burnley. Elsewhere, back-up goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is expected to push to become a regular starter elsewhere.
In any case, today’s update regards vice-captain Milner who’ll bring his superb eight-year stint at Anfield to a close.
Milner’s influence at Liverpool has waned in recent seasons, though his versatility and leadership has always ensured he’s had a place in Klopp’s ranks.
As such, the German boss was understood to have been keen on handing Milner a new one-year extension.
Milner himself has now confirmed that to be true, though admitted Klopp was overruled by the club’s owners.
Via the Mirror, Milner said: “It’s all good because the manager wanted to keep me – which as a player is what you want.
“Obviously the club decided a different way. In my head it felt like it could be a good time, so I’m content with how it’s all come about
“It was probably about three weeks ago that I heard from the club.
“Because I hadn’t heard anything, in my own mind I had probably decided myself that I would be going.
“I will continue to play football, so yes I could be back in front of the Kop potentially. It’s an option.”
Milner not moving far down the table
Milner’s boyhood club, Leeds Utd, showed interest in bringing the veteran midfielder back on board.
However, according to Fabrizio Romano and Football Insider, Milner will instead join high-flying Brighton who will finish just one place below Liverpool in the table.
Romano recently reported Milner has accepted Brighton’s contract offer for one year at the Amex. Football Insider subsequently confirmed a ‘full agreement’ is in place.
Milner’s vast experience may well prove crucial for Brighton whose squad lack European nous ahead of their tilt in the Europa League next year.
Milner is a veteran of 17 different European campaigns through his stints at Newcastle, Aston Villa, Man City and Liverpool.
He lifted the Champions League with the Reds in 2019 and played his part in helping Liverpool reach two further finals in 2018 and 2022.