Jurgen Klopp responds to James Milner transfer rumours amid Brighton links

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Jurgen Klopp has suggested James Milner will leave Liverpool when his contract expires in the summer.

The veteran is a target for Brighton and is expected to join Albion on a free transfer after eight seasons at Anfield.

Klopp has tried to persuade vice-captain Milner, 37, to stay but seemed to admit defeat.

He said: “Milly, I can say over the last few months I had really good conversations with him. He knows how highly I value him, he’s an incredible part of the team and I would have loved to work together with him even longer.

“But the exact outcome of his decision, I think Milly will say that – I don’t know if it happened yet or not. Nothing else to say from me. Nothing in the last seven-and-a-half years of the positive things would have happened without James Milner.”

Milner could feature in Saturday’s game against Brentford when Thiago Alcantara will be absent after undergoing surgery on a hip injury. The Spain international should be fit for pre-season.

Jordan Henderson is also a doubt while Diogo Jota has a problem with his back that could keep him out.

“Hendo, I have to see. He had a scan yesterday will not be a big thing but maybe enough [to rule him out],” Klopp said. “Diogo has his back issue, he could train yesterday but didn’t do a lot.”

Roberto Firmino could be back in training next week while Stefan Bajcetic is out for the remainder of the campaign and Naby Keita is still missing.

Victory against Brentford would put Liverpool just one point behind Manchester United but Erik ten Hag’s team would have two games in hand and Klopp remains sceptical about their chances of a top-four finish.

He added: “Other teams are in much better positions, as long as they win games we have no chance,” he said. “We have to keep teams behind us. We have 59 [points] so United has 63 so we can get 71 maximum. United needs for that eight points in five, from [a possible] 15. I think they will do that.”