James Milner turned down Manchester City and Arsenal in order to move to Liverpool eight years ago
Eyebrows were raised when James Milner turned down a new contract from Manchester City to join Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side.
Despite being wanted in North London by Arsenal, Milner opted for Anfield with the then Liverpool manager promising a more central midfield role.
The appeal of wanting to be part of ‘something special’ at Liverpool definitely came, but not under the manager he expected as Jurgen Klopp quickly landed on Merseyside.
Milner was heavily pursued by the Gunners after he decided to opt against signing a lucrative new deal to remain at the Etihad Stadium, but it was Liverpool who caught the Yorkshireman’s eye.
The ex-City star was handed the famous number seven shirt at Anfield and went straight into a role as vice-captain. Milner had won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the League Cup with City, but he had eyes on Europe’s biggest prize – the Champions League.
Milner realised that dream in 2019, four years after joining the Reds, as he played a pivotal role in Klopp’s side lifting the Champions League in Madrid.
The former City man said upon arriving at Anfield in June 2015: “That’s a big thing for me coming to the later stages of my career – I’m not going to say the end of my career because I still feel I have plenty of football left in me! – I want to play as much football as I can.
“When I’m sat at 45 and retired, I want to look back and see what I’ve done and that I’ve played games, rather than having come to the end of my career and tailed off.
“Liverpool is a great fit for me as a club. It’s a huge club and there is a lot of pressure every time you step out onto that field. I’ve played in front of the Anfield crowd and it’ll be nice to be on the other side of the fans now.
“The atmosphere they create is fantastic and probably some of the best atmospheres I’ve played in in England, so to have them supporting me is definitely going to be an amazing feeling.”
Milner went on to win every major honour during his time at Anfield before departing the club after his contract expired eight years after making the move.