Liverpool midfielder James Milner’s deal expires in the summer and Jurgen Klopp wants to have the 36-year-old in his squad next season. Milner has so far made 16 Premier League appearances this term; Jurgen Klopp hails Inter Milan as best team in Italy ahead of Champions League clash.
Liverpool have been training before flying to Italy for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Inter Milan.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has asked the club to open talks with James Milner about a new contract. Discussions with Milner’s representatives are yet to take place, however, indicating that reports on Tuesday the club have made him an offer are wide of the mark.
Milner’s current deal expires in the summer and the manager wants to have the 36-year-old in his squad next season.
The ex-England international has continued to play an important role in Klopp’s squad this season despite his advancing years, making 16 Premier League appearances and four in the Champions League.
It is understood Klopp is keen for the midfielder to extend his stay for at least another season. “There is no chance Milly will retire next year, he is desperate to play on and I understand,” he said on Friday.
“Life after your career, when you are lucky enough to stay healthy, is much longer than your career so you usually extend your career as long as you can if you can play football”.
“I think Milly will be fine after his career as well but he obviously loves what he is doing and he will play football next year, definitely.”
Jurgen Klopp believes clubs can still reap the benefits of retaining players into their mid-30s – which could offer hope of a resolution to Mohamed Salah’s contract impasse.
The Liverpool forward turns 30 in the summer, when he will have 12 months left on his current deal.
It is believed the Premier League’s current leading scorer is looking for an improved contract in excess of £300,000-a-week but the Egypt international has frequently stressed it is not about the money and he is keen to stay.
Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group have always been reluctant to offer lucrative contracts to players over the age of 30 but the form Salah is showing and his superior fitness suggests he could continue at the highest level for several years more.
Salah will be the last of Liverpool’s famed front three to turn 30. Sadio Mane celebrates a similar birthday in April, while Roberto Firmino is 31 in October and both, too, have contracts which expire in 16 months’ time.
Klopp: Inter are best team in Italy
Jurgen Klopp has hailed Inter Milan as the best team in Italy ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 first leg away to Simone Inzaghi’s side on Wednesday.
Inter claimed the Serie A title for the first time in 11 years under Antonio Conte last season, and currently lie second in the table, one point behind rivals AC Milan with a game in hand.
Ahead of the clash in the San Siro, Klopp said: “If we are dominant, Inter will defend pretty compact”.
“It’s Inter – it’s a top-class team and manager. They were champions last year and with all respect to the other teams, I think they are probably the best team this year”.
“They look rock solid, they have creativity on the pitch and are organised and well-drilled. Their individual quality is big and we have to show a top-class performance to even have a chance.”
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are likely to be key players for Liverpool in Milan after returning to the side following their Africa Cup of Nations exertions.
Both players reached the final on February 6 – which saw Mane score the winning penalty for Senegal as they defeated Salah’s Egypt in a shootout – but were fit enough to start in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.
Klopp described the duo – who have nine Champions League goals between them this season – as “forces of nature”, and said the key to their speedy return from AFCON is that “both boys don’t drink alcohol at all.”
Klopp added: “That’s the major problem you have if you celebrate – that extends the recovery time. They were fit the day after the game”.
“Both are forces of nature and hopefully it stays forever like this. They recover extremely quickly and I’m not surprised about that.”