Jamie Carragher has suggested that Liverpool should not be handing new contracts to James Milner or Roberto Firmino.
Both players are out of contract this summer, after eight years with the Reds. At the moment, Firmino looks likely to get an extension, while Milner’s future lies in the balance.
But writing for The Telegraph, Carragher said he was ‘worried’ by the precedent set by Jordan Henderson’s new deal two years ago.
“Within 24 hours of an agreement [of Henderson’s contract extension], sporting director Michael Edwards was reported as considering his future, and has since left. The timing was probably coincidental, but there were strong suggestions – not contradicted – that there were internal disagreements about the length and value of Henderson’s extension,” began the Liverpool legend.
“That worried me at the time and has worried me more when hearing the echoes whenever Klopp speaks about the future of Roberto Firmino and James Milner.
“Klopp has openly said Liverpool need to refresh and reset, but he seems unwilling to accept Firmino’s declining influence and increasing injury problems, while Milner has been a bit-part player for years. In the face of mounting evidence that the race is run for core members of a successful team, it is strange that Edwards’ successor, Julian Ward, will also leave this summer, as have other members of the data and analytics department.”
Making the case for Liverpool’s long-serving duo
This is certainly a legitimate worry for Carragher to have. Although both Milner and Firmino are much-loved players, there comes a time when ties need to be cut.
With Liverpool starting to struggle badly this season, this has become more apparent than ever.
Despite that, there is still a nagging feeling that both could offer something more. Carragher is right that Milner is now a bit-part player, and he’ll probably play even less with new signings through the door.
But his influence around the training ground is palpable. Forever known as the standard setter at the club, Liverpool would lose a lot if they lost the Yorkshireman.
And then there’s Bobby Firmino. Perhaps the ‘bit-part’ description would suit Liverpool’s dazzling Brazilian right now, too. This has been influenced by injuries, though. It still rings true that whenever Firmino is fit, he tends to be in the team.
Even if that isn’t the case when Liverpool’s front six are all available, he still has plenty to give. Six years younger than Milner, it feels a little unfair to lump then in the same bracket here. Each case should be judged by it’s own merit. Maybe the time has come to say goodbye to Milly, but there’s no harm in keeping Firmino for a couple more years.
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