With the unmitigated disaster that was replacing Luis Suarez fresh in the memory, Brendan Rodgers must be dreading the thought of identifying an heir to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard’s throne.
If reports in The Times are to be believed, however, the Ulsterman has sounded out the ideal candidate – Manchester City’s James Milner.
Like Gerrard, the hard-working Citizen is out of contract at the end of the current campaign and there has been no talk of him imminently inking a new one.
The bookies in black and gold, bwin.com, go 6/4 about the former Leeds, Newcastle and Aston Villa man signing on at Anfield by the end of the summer transfer window and the Reds would do well to make the move.
Here’s why Milner is the ideal replacement for outbound Gerrard.
The 29-year-old plays best in central midfield.
Milner earned his £25m move to the Etihad on the back of a stellar season in the heart of the Aston Villa midfield in which he scored seven goals and laid on 12 assists.
Owing to Yaya Toure’s dominance of the Man City middle band, opportunities for him to demonstrate his considerable talent in this department have been limited in recent seasons, but his energy and all-round ability make him the ideal box-to-box player.
He brings leadership qualities that the Reds are desperately short of.
Once Gerrard absconds, the dearth of influential figures in the Liverpool dressing room will surely be a cause for alarm.
Having won multiple Premier League titles and played numerous games at the highest level, Milner would instantly become the club’s most experienced campaigner were he signed.
His versatility would be of great use to the Merseysiders.
Manuel Pellegrini recently opted to utilise Milner as line-leading striker when his first-choice trio of forwards were all out injured, exemplifying how dependable he is.
Rodgers appears to have abandoned the idea that Gerrard is the world’s best holding-midfielder, opting to use him higher up the pitch, as well as in a deeper berth.
Milner can do both equally effectively, as well as play out wide, meaning no tactical alterations would be necessary were he recruited.