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James Milner’s potential absence a huge blow to Liverpool’s Champions League hopes

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Photo: Getty Images.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out long-term and Emre Can expected to lose his race against time to be fit for the Champions League final, the last thing that Liverpool fans would have wanted to see on Sunday would have been James Milner sitting in the stands as Liverpool faced Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp explained that the midfielder was not risked due to an injury, though he did play down its severity.

“It’s a little injury. It’s serious enough to put him out for today; he couldn’t train the whole week,” Klopp said before the game, speaking to the club’s official website.

“We hope it will work out. But we had to accept it and we had to think about solutions. ”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

After the game, Klopp looked to ease concerns and insist that Milner would be back to partner the likes of Jordan Henderson and Georgino Wijnaldum in midfield for the Champions League final in Kiev.

“Only today it was not possible,” he told the press after the final whistle, as reported by the club’s official website.

“I think the next three or four days he will still need and then he will be fine again. Even Millie the machine needs sometimes a few days and this game was not possible.”

If he suffers a setback though, it could be a major problem for the Reds who have no other senior players available as naturals in central midfield. Not only would this season’s most prolific assister in the competition, the team’s vice captain and one of the more experienced leaders of the squad be missing, but there are few options to replace him.

The next best alternative would likely be to switch Trent Alexander-Arnold into midfield, a role that he performed well in against Stoke City only a few weeks ago. Such a move would leave a gap in defence though with Joe Gomez also ruled out and would likely mean that Nathaniel Clyne would make only his third start of the season.

None of the alternatives are ones that Jurgen Klopp will want to entertain, so having Milner back at full fitness could be pivotal to Liverpool’s chances of adding a sixth European Cup to their collection.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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Champions League

Gareth Bale’s red-hot Real Madrid form should scare Liverpool

The Welshman has scored 11 goals in his last 15 appearances.

Max Cohen

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Gareth Bale
Photo: Getty Images

In Real Madrid’s final league match of this season on Saturday, Gareth Bale swept home a lovely right-footed finish to open the scoring against Villarreal.

That goal marked the Welshman’s 11th goal in his last 15 appearances for club and country; a remarkably prolific run of form that should scare Liverpool ahead of next weekend’s Champions League final.

Injury problems have marred much of Bale’s time at the Bernabeu, and he suffered a lengthy two-month absence from the first team this fall.

Yet, after returning from his injury lay-off, the former world-record signing has hit full form in the last two months.

In that time period, the winger has scored a hat-trick for Wales, braces against Las Palmas and Celta Vigo, and a crucial goal versus Barcelona.

This spring resurgence presents a worrying prospect for Liverpool’s defence, who already will have their hands full trying to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in check in Kiev.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Add in Gareth Bale hitting full form, and suddenly the task at hand for Jurgen Klopp’s men appears far more difficult.

The 28-year-old also has quite the decorated history for los Blancos in cup finals. In his debut season for Real, Bale scored sensational winning goals in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.

The following season in the European Cup final, the Welshman assisted Real Madrid’s sole goal and scored his penalty in the ensuing shoot-out; his cup final record is simply superb.

Combined with Bale’s recent tremendous goalscoring form, the prospect of facing up against the powerful winger might strike fear in the Liverpool backline.

But the Reds have proven adept in stifling some of the best attacks in Europe this season.

Liverpool famously restricted high-scoring Manchester City to just one goal over 180 minutes in the quarterfinals and the Reds will have to conjure up that heroic rearguard performance in order to stop the on-form Gareth Bale next weekend.

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Liverpool

Liverpool should turn to Steven Gerrard and Rangers to solve their Rhian Brewster problem

Liverpool are struggling to keep the teenager, but a move to Ibrox would see him work with new Rangers boss and Kop legend in Glasgow.

Mathew Coull

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Liverpool are facing something of a battle to keep hold of their star young striker Rhian Brewster. The young England talent, who was sensational for England’s under-17s in their World Cup triumph last summer, has been heavily linked with a move to German side Borussia Monchengladbach. In fact, the approach from the Bundesliga outfit has been anything but amicable.

Liverpool know they have a top talent in their hands in the form of Brewster, but he obviously fears for his first-team opportunities at Anfield.

What Liverpool need to do is present the young striker with a clear vision for his future and it should involve club legend, Steven Gerrard.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The former Liverpool captain has recently taken his first steps into management with Scottish giants Rangers. Now he will be looking to improve his options at Ibrox, as they look to catch Old Firm rivals Celtic.

Brewster has in fact been linked with a move to Gerrard’s Glasgow rivals, but it would be a better move for the teenager to head to Ibrox.

Under the guidance of former Liverpool under-18 boss Gerrard the striker would be more likely to play first-team football.

The deal would offer the talented striker what he wants, regular first-team football. Rangers would be happy with any deal. His arrival would be welcomed and would add some fresh firepower to the attacking ranks at Rangers.

(during the International Friendly match between Sydney FC and Liverpool FC at ANZ Stadium on May 24, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will know he is in the trusted hands of a club legend who will do all he can to ensure Brewster continues to mature, all whilst hopefully improving Rangers’ frontline.

Presenting a full plan for his development would give Brewster the desire he needs to remain at Liverpool. Heading to Ibrox would then be a perfect opportunity for him to start finding the net and adapting to the men’s game.

A Rangers loan switch makes perfect sense for all parties.

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English Premier League

Gianluigi Buffon would be perfect solution to Liverpool’s goalkeeping position

The veteran shot-stopper would represent a significant upgrade for the Reds.

Jake Jackman

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Gianluigi Buffon
Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool‘s season has not finished yet as they prepare for the Champions League final, but speculation is already beginning to ramp up ahead of a crucial summer.

Jurgen Klopp has done a great job at Anfield and the club have developed into a team capable of challenging for major honours.

This season, they didn’t have the consistency or the quality to compete for the Premier League title, but they have shown how good they are in Europe.

The Reds have never won a Premier League title and supporters will be desperate to put an end to that awful run over the coming years.

They already have a very good squad, but Klopp will want to add three or four quality players this summer to push them on.

During recent days, Gianluigi Buffon has announced that he will be leaving Juventus after an incredible career with the Serie A champions.

However, the goalkeeper won’t be retiring from playing and a number of top European clubs have been linked with a move for him.

(Photo by Andreas Solaro/Getty Images)

Liverpool are one of those, Italian pay-per-view sports channel Premium Sport, via the Mirror, and it could be a transfer that makes a lot of sense for the club.

Loris Karius has impressed since coming back into the team, but he isn’t a top-tier European goalkeeper and Liverpool could look to improve their options between the sticks.

As he would be available on a free transfer, Buffon has immediate appeal.

His experience would be invaluable to have around the training ground. This is a young squad and the Italian international would provide a winning mentality that would be a positive influence.

Buffon has received some criticism for his performances this season, with his display against Real Madrid being noticeably poor.

However, he remains one of the best goalkeepers in the world and he would improve the starting eleven at Anfield.

He is approaching the end of his career, but he could do a fine job for one or two seasons and have a positive impact on the younger goalkeepers at the club.

It would be a little harsh on Karius, but he would have to look at the positives if Buffon does sign as he can benefit from working with the experienced shot-stopper.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Over the course of this season, it has become clear why Klopp chose to sign his compatriot last summer as he has been reliable in goal.

That said, he hasn’t stood out as one of the best in the league and if the Reds are to challenge for the league title, they will need a better option.

The summer ahead is an opportunity to push on from a good season for Liverpool, regardless of what happens in the Champions League final.

If they do manage to lift the trophy, they will become a very attractive proposition for top European players and it would be a statement of intent to bring two or three into the club.

Under Klopp, they want to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. Their goalkeeping position is a weakness and Buffon would be a fine addition on a free transfer.

It would send a statement and show that the Reds are now a top team once again.

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