Football: Liverpool hope regular central midfield role will be a carrot for Milner

Liverpool hope to agree a free transfer of James Milner this week, with the England international poised to reject Champions League football with Manchester City or Arsenal in favour of a prominent role at Anfield, the Guardian reported. -- PHOTO: RE
Liverpool hope to agree a free transfer of James Milner this week, with the England international poised to reject Champions League football with Manchester City or Arsenal in favour of a prominent role at Anfield, the Guardian reported. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LIVERPOOL hope to agree a free transfer of James Milner this week with the England international poised to reject Champions League football with Manchester City or Arsenal in favour of a prominent role at Anfield, the Guardian reported.

He is one of the items on Liverpool's agenda for a week that will shape their summer strategy. Tom Werner, the club's chairman, and Mike Gordon, the president of Fenway Sports Group, are due on Merseyside to conduct an end-of-season review that will have major implications for Brendan Rodgers' position.

The club are also free to negotiate personal terms with Danny Ings, who is out of contract at Burnley on July 1 and understood to prefer a move to Liverpool over Tottenham Hotspur and Real Sociedad.

Milner is a key target for Liverpool as they prepare to rebuild their midfield without Steven Gerrard. The club are confident of reaching a swift agreement with the player and his advisers despite failing to qualify for the Champions League.

The 29-year-old did not secure a regular central midfield role under Manuel Pellegrini and Liverpool hope that prospect at Anfield, and the fact he can remain in the north-west, has swayed him towards Merseyside.

Pressure grew on Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, when his team lost the FA Cup semi-final to Aston Villa and faded from Champions League contention as a consequence of only two wins from the last nine league matches.

Both Jüergen Klopp and Rafael Benítez have been touted as replacements this summer.

But the German coach has confirmed his intention to take a sabbatical following the end of his seven-year reign at Borussia Dortmund while the former Liverpool manager is expected to be unveiled as Real Madrid's head coach on Wednesday.