Reassurance over Rodgers future crucial to Milner deal at Anfield
James Milner sought assurances that Brendan Rodgers would be retained as Liverpool manager prior to agreeing a deal at Anfield.
The England midfielder's arrival on Merseyside was confirmed, pending a medical, in a club statement yesterday. The 29-year-old has given up a supporting role at Manchester City to become one of Rodgers' chief lieutenants at Liverpool.
There is no doubt that Rodgers' influence was central to convincing Milner to move from City, where the player had become frustrated at the rotation policy. He knows he will be central to Rodgers' reshaping of his side next season.
As with Danny Ings, whose signing is also expected to be confirmed in a matter of days, Milner was keen to work with Rodgers. Had Liverpool opted to make a managerial change following their end-of-season review, Milner would have reconsidered.
Rodgers will be buoyed by the decision of the versatile midfielder to quit the club where he won two Premier League titles. He has been earmarked for a central role at the start of next season.
With Steven Gerrard leaving this summer, the manager knew he had to act to recruit a senior pro who would command respect on and off the pitch at Anfield. Rodgers often looked around his dressing-room last season and saw a group of talented but raw young players desperately in need of guidance.
Milner will enthuse the Liverpool manager as someone whose professionalism will be the envy of most Premier League managers, not least Manuel Pellegrini who was desperate to keep him. City offered Milner £160,000 a week to sign a new deal and he featured regularly last season in an effort to keep him.
Milner had already decided he wanted to move to a club where he would be guaranteed his place - form permitting - rather than facing uncertainty about his role from one week to the next.
Earlier this week Jamie Carragher suggested Milner should be considered for the Liverpool captaincy.