New Liverpool signing James Milner believes that even Lionel Messi isn't capable of filling the void left behind following Steven Gerrard's departure.
The former Liverpool skipper is now plying his trade in America with LA Galaxy after calling time on an illustrious 17-year senior career with the club.
Milner is one of a host of new arrivals at Anfield brought in to kickstart the post-Gerrard era along with the likes of Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings. Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke is expected to complete his move to Liverpool and has been spotted at the club's Melwood training ground today.
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Despite the host of new arrivals, Milner - who has scored twice on their pre-season tour in Austraila already - says there is no replacing one of Liverpool's all-time greats; not even with a player with a genuine claim of being the greatest players of all time.
'I don't think there's someone on the planet who could replace Gerrard for what he did for Liverpool football club over the years, so as a team we need to replace his output,' Milner is quoted as saying to ABC.
"And I'm sure that can be done, but me personally, I'm a different player to him and I'll do my job and do what I do best. Even Messi would struggle to replace Stevie for what he's done for Liverpool over the years"
"What he's done on and off the field, as a player and as a captain, as a person, he's been amazing. It's a big void to fill but I'm sure as a team we can do that."
Liverpool endured a difficult season last time round and they finished outside of the Champions League qualifying spots, which put boss Brendan Rodgers under pressure.
One man who could be following Gerrard out of the door is striker Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker flopped badly in his first season at Anfield following his £17 million switch from AC Milan last year. Balotelli is not part of the tour to Australia and Rodgers suggested that his future could be up in the air.
“He is working hard to get fit and we will see when the season begins,” he responded when asked by reporters about Balotelli's future.
Liverpool's total transfer outlay is currently at around £80 million and Rodgers is optimistic that his new arrivals can settle in quickly. “With half a new team coming in, we want to keep improving the dynamic and cohesion of the team. Last season was a disappointment for us. We had to ensure we brought in quality to help us improve and we have done that.
“The mentality of the players we signed was very important. I’m happy with those we’ve brought in. I’ve got an inherent belief they can help us push on this season."
What will Liverpool's starting XI look like next season?
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