Liverpool might replace James Milner the player, not his enduring legacy as a role model

Liverpool Football Club have finally decided to part ways with James Milner, whose contract with the club expires this summer.

James Milner has been a remarkable servant for Liverpool since joining the club in July 2015.

During his eight-year stay at Anfield, Milner has helped Liverpool win the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, the Club World Cup, the FA Cup trophy, the UEFA Super Cup, the English League Cup and the Community Shield.

The versatile midfielder contributed to 26 goals and 46 assists across 332 appearances for Liverpool across all competitions. And he will forever be remembered as one of the club’s greatest bargains. Liverpool signed the midfielder on a free transfer, and his exploits at Anfield certainly cement his legacy as one of the best free transfers in the history of the Premier League.

But Milner’s time at Liverpool will officially end in a few weeks, with a move to Brighton & Hove Albion on the cards. Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at a few reasons why Liverpool will find it extremely difficult to replace the 37-year-old on and off the pitch.


James Milner is undoubtedly one of the most versatile Premier League players of all time. The English midfielder played in almost every position on the pitch apart from central defence, goalkeeper and striker.

His ability to slot into multiple roles and execute his responsibilities at a high level made him an indispensable asset for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. Milner played as a central midfielder, as a winger, as a full-back in crucial games and helped the Reds get over the line.


Availability is one of the most invaluable qualities in modern football. Liverpool have had a number of players with enormous talent on their roster. But they have been quite unreliable in terms of fitness.

Players like Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara have missed a vast number of games since joining the club. So the Reds have not been able to utilise their qualities quite often. In comparison, James Milner has missed just 43 matches through injury in his eight years at the club.

Milner’s ability to stay fit despite playing a high number of games every season makes him very hard to replace. Liverpool will not only have to find a player of his quality and versatility, but they will also have to bring in a supreme athlete who can stay fit over a long period of time.

James Milner
James Milner shared a good camaraderie with Jurgen Klopp. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Often Underrated but Reliable

While Milner is often considered a player who was a jack of all trades but a master of none, the underlying numbers throughout his career suggest otherwise.

The 37-year-old is an excellent passer with impressive vision in the final third. He is also an impressive tackler and difficult to shake off the ball. The English midfielder was more than just a workhorse, and he showed that when he was competing shoulder-to-shoulder against the European elite during the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League campaign.

The Liverpool veteran clocked eight assists in 11 Champions League games, helping his side reach their first Champions League final under Jurgen Klopp. And his exploits continued to his very final appearance as he continued to give it his all on the pitch.

Leadership Qualities

James Milner has been one of the leaders of the Liverpool dressing room throughout his time at the club. Apart from his ability to lead the team through adversity and mentor young players, one of his hugely underrated qualities was his ability to help new signings settle into the club and make them feel welcome.

The 37-year-old reportedly speaks a number of languages, which makes him popular amongst foreign players arriving at Liverpool. Back in 2014, his then-Manchester City teammate Micah Richards revealed that Milner decided to learn Spanish so that he could communicate with his Spanish and South American teammates and help bridge the communication gap with the foreign players.

James Milner: The Epitome of Consistency

James Milner might not have been the best player at the club at any point in time, but he has always been a reliable and consistent performer for Liverpool. The 37-year-old made it a habit of dropping a 7/10 performance more often than not, instead of being erratic. Despite not being a regular starter for the Reds, he managed to deliver when called upon.

The 37-year-old was clearly more than just a good footballer and he leaves a lasting legacy at Liverpool. His contributions extend beyond the pitch. So Liverpool will do well to replace a player of his quality let alone a role model like him.

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