Brendan Rodgers had a choice between signing James Milner and Dele Alli when Liverpool manager in 2015, according to the Daily Telegraph.
They report that Rodgers was comparing the merits of both midfielders as he looked to replace Steven Gerrard, and when it became clear that it only made sense to sign one, plumped for the experience of Milner.
Milner was once perceived as boring – and truth be told, he has stepped up a level since retiring from England duty – but is now a central figure in Liverpool’s plans, as a consistent performer and the club’s vice captain.
It’s easier to see how Alli might have been viewed as a natural replacement for Gerrard, especially at the time when he was coming through at Milton Keynes.
He was just 18 when Rodgers weighed up his merits and he is perhaps the most exciting central midfielder English football has produced since Gerrard, able to do everything and score goals at will.
But Milner’s relentless running is ideal for what Jurgen Klopp wants, and both men will go head to head in Saturday’s Champions League final – with both the Reds and Tottenham likely happy with the outcome.
Alli is Tottenham’s second highest earner on a reported £150,000 a week (Daily Mail) and offers more stardust, but less consistency that his more experienced former England team-mate.
It’s Alli who’s more likely to produce the killer blow in Madrid but Milner has more trophies to his name and a more storied career.