Liverpool are set to inform any possible suitors that James Milner won’t be sold in the January transfer window, with the vice-captain still key.
Milner made just his third start of the season in Tuesday night’s 7-0 win away to Maribor in the Champions League, but provided a reminder of his quality.
The 31-year-old was arguably Jurgen Klopp‘s star man in Slovenia, despite five different players getting their names on the scoresheet in the club’s biggest-ever European away victory.
By this time last term, he had already made eight starting appearances out of a possible 10, nailing down the role of first-choice left-back.
And though he is now said to be “frustrated about his lack of playing time,” the club are not willing to part ways.
At just 31, it would be difficult to begrudge Milner pushing for a move away from Merseyside if his peripheral role continues under Klopp.
While joining Liverpool saw him take up the role of elder statesman for the first time—he is currently only younger than Ragnar Klavan in Klopp’s group—he still has a number of years ahead of him.
He would only need to look to his former Aston Villa and City team-mate Gareth Barry for inspiration, with the 36-year-old joining Everton at 32 and carving out a key role.
After making 155 appearances on the other side of the city, Barry joined West Brom in August and is now a regular under Tony Pulis.
His performance in Maribor showcased his vitality, creativity and experience, and there is a case to argue that he deserves a place ahead of Jordan Henderson at present.
Fortunately, it is reported that “Klopp has assured Milner chances will come, even if the starting place he had last season is no longer guaranteed.”