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Milner left Man City for Liverpool to win the Champions League, says Rodgers

The man who took a versatile performer to Anfield claims that a desire to taste European glory led him away from a team dominating domestically

James Milner swapped Manchester City for Liverpool because he wanted to win the Champions League, says former Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

A man currently in charge at Leicester pushed hard to land a versatile performer as a free agent in the summer of 2015.

Milner had tasted Premier League title glory at the Etihad Stadium, with FA Cup and League Cup successes also savoured while on the Blues’ books.

It came as a surprise to some to see him walk away from a side dominating the domestic game to link up with the Reds at Anfield.

Rodgers, though, claims that a desire to experience a European triumph – something which continues to elude City – led Milner into joining a club with a rich continental history.

After seeing the 33-year-old realise his ambition in 2018-19, Rodgers said in the Liverpool Echo: “It’s really, really interesting because he wanted to come to Liverpool.

“He had won the Premier League, he had won cups. His whole ambition was to win the Champions League and he felt that he would have a better opportunity to win it at Liverpool.

“When we got the call to say he was going to come, I was so happy. His professionalism, his intensity, his focus. It was always going to help the squad.

“Even though it was only a short time we worked together, he was always going to be a really good signing.

“He was brilliant. Then you see what he has done. He has played at left-back, he has played in midfield. He is just a top-class professional and he has done absolutely brilliant for the club.”

Rodgers saw Milner come back to haunt him on Saturday as a stoppage-time penalty condemned his Leicester side to a dramatic 2-1 defeat at Anfield.

There were plenty of familiar faces on show for the Reds, with the man who helped to lay some of the foundations for Jurgen Klopp’s success pleased to see his former club flourishing.

Rodgers added: “You always try to keep in contact. You move on but you become friends.

“I always try to do my best for the players – the likes of him (Milner), Jordan [Henderson]. When they lifted the European Cup last year, to see their joy and their happiness, it was absolutely brilliant.

“They are good guys and you are playing here under big pressure. They are absolutely key for the whole spirit of Liverpool. They bring that intensity and focus and they are good guys.”

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