Jul 9, 2015
Man City legend Peter Barnes: Liverpool should name Milner captain
Barnes says that ex-City midfielder Milner is exactly the kind of player that coach Brendan Rodgers needs to turn around the Reds' fortunes and could turn out to be the best of more than half a dozen summer recruits to Anfield.
"Everyone at Manchester City was sorry to see James go because he was the kind of player who was consistent, week in week out, and would score important goals in all competitions," Malaysia-based Barnes told ESPN FC.
"After Steven Gerrard's departure, Liverpool should make Milner their skipper and let him play anywhere he wants in the midfield, whether it's central or in a wider role.
"He's only 29, is one of the fittest players in the league, and could
Barnes made his comments as the Reds continued pre-season training ahead of their Asian and Australian tour. They will play two games against A-League sides Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, in between matches against the Thai All Stars on July 14 and a Malaysia XI on July 24.
"Milner should have started more games for City and the club will definitely miss him," added former England international Barnes, who played more than 150 games for the Sky Blues during two spells in the 1970s and 80s, winning the 1976 League Cup. "City's loss is Liverpool's gain and I expect him to be a success straight away at Anfield."
As for Mario Balotelli -- another ex-Manchester City player -- Barnes believes that Liverpool have little option but to play the moody Italian at the start of the coming season, despite his meagre return of one league goal in the 2014-15 campaign.
"With a fitness cloud above Daniel Sturridge, Brendan Rodgers may need to rely on Balotelli upfront," Barnes said. "And who knows: he may actually come good. Mario played well for City during his time with us and has the talent to score goals for Liverpool too.
"What Rodgers needs to do is to start Balotelli every game and hope that he will regain his confidence. On his day, he's a potential match winner."
Barnes, who runs the Petaling Jaya-based junior soccer school Back To Basics, said he was looking forward to seeing the two former City players in action when Liverpool play the Malaysia XI later this month.
Organised by Pro Events, it is Liverpool's second trip to Malaysia in four years and tickets are available.