James Milner has confirmed that his upcoming departure from Liverpool is due to the club’s failure to offer him a new contract, despite Jurgen Klopp’s desire to keep him.
The 37-year-old is leaving Anfield after a successful eight seasons, during which Liverpool won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and finished as runners-up in the Europa League.
In early May, Daily Post reported that Brighton, who will be competing in the Europa League, are eager to finalize a deal for Milner. They see his experience in top-level European competitions as beneficial for Roberto De Zerbi’s team in their progressive journey.
However, Klopp does not support Milner’s departure. Besides Milner, Klopp is also bidding farewell to Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita, whose contracts are expiring. This will leave Liverpool with a shortage of midfield options.
While Alexis Mac Allister is expected to join Liverpool in a significant transfer, Milner has confirmed recent reports that Klopp wanted to extend his contract as a reward for his contributions.
“It’s positive because the manager wanted to retain me – which is what a player desires,” said Milner about his decision to leave. “Unfortunately, the club chose a different path. Personally, I felt it could be the right time, so I’m satisfied with how things have unfolded.
“I received communication from the club around three weeks ago. Since I hadn’t heard anything, I had already made up my mind about leaving.
“I will continue to play football, so there’s a possibility I could return to play in front of the Kop. It’s an option.”
While Milner plans to keep playing, he also discussed his post-retirement plans. The former Manchester City, Aston Villa, and Leeds star admitted that he sometimes struggles to decide what to do next. However, he recognizes that not sharing his wealth of experience with others would be a missed opportunity.
“Some days I think I would love to try my hand at management. But then you see a manager sign a new contract and get sacked six weeks later. That’s when you think, ‘Maybe the golf course is a better option!’
“We’ll see. Pursuing my coaching badges has been beneficial in my learning process, and I have had the privilege of playing under remarkable managers. I have also played under some less capable ones! Nonetheless, there is always something to learn from them.
“After playing for as long as I have, alongside incredible teammates, it would be a shame not to share that knowledge.”
Milner’s final appearance for Liverpool will take place on the last day of the Premier League season, when they face Southampton, who have already been relegated. Liverpool will finish fifth and enter the Europa League next year.