Brendan Rodgers has admitted Liverpool put in a significant amount of work to secure the signing of James Milner, but also claimed the effort was well worth it.
The Reds signed Milner on a free transfer from Manchester City after the England international rejected a fresh £165,000-a-week contract with the Citizens in search of regular first-team football.
Liverpool sign Milner
Liverpool beat off a host of Premier League clubs to ink a deal with Milner, including Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. The guarantee of regular football in central midfield was the reason why the former Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Leeds United man chose Anfield.
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Milner grabbed the winner for his new side in Liverpool 2-1 pre-season friendly victory against Brisbane Roar in Australia. Afterwards, Rodgers hailed the talents of Milner and said he believes the 29-year-old will be a huge hit at the Merseyside outfit.
"James Miner is a class act," the Northern Irishman said.
“We had to work very hard to get him in but we will see over the course of the season how important he is for us.
“He has wonderful personality and is a top class footballer. When you see him playing in his favourite position, all his qualities come out.
“We wanted more goals from midfield and with James that was the idea. When he plays in that central area he can really penetrate the box.
“James probably suffered a bit from being such a good footballer. He played right-back, wide left, wide right, as a striker and as a midfielder.
“Probably the best season he ever had was at Aston Villa playing as a centre midfield player.
“He’s going to be huge for us and working close at hand with him I can see why he’s regarded as such a top class professional.”
There's a number of ways Rodgers could line-up this season and he has a healthy dilemma. Milner and Jordan Henderson will be the Liverpool manager's regulars in the centre of midfield. They both offer a phenomenal work ethic as well as being able to attack and defend to a great level.
Rodgers could opt for a 4-3-2-1 formation, with Emre Can joining the two aforementioned in midfield. Can was highly impressive at centre-back last season and his future has always been further up the pitch. It would be interesting to see who would play the more defensive role in that system, with all three being capable of doing so.
Meanwhile Milner will come into the Liverpool team as Steven Gerrard's replacement. The Anfield legend left for MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy earlier this summer and, although nobody will ever be able to fill his boots, the Reds have a decent alternative in the form of Milner.
He's got a vast amount of experienced having being capped over 50 times for England and won two Premier League titles.
Liverpool fans, what do you think of Brendan Rodgers signing Milner? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.