Former Liverpool captain Paul Ince has made a shocking claim about James Milner and Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho.
Ince prompted an intense backlash from Liverpool fans while speaking about Milner in ITV's pre-match coverage of Liverpool's match against Athletico Madrid in the Audi Cup final.
The player turned pundit claimed that the Englishman is more important to the Anfield club than attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho.
"Forget Coutinho, James Milner is Liverpool's best player," said Ince per Liverpool Echo.
"He can play in every position."
Coutinho has been pursued by the likes of Spanish giants Barcelona as Neymar is set to depart for PSG. The Brazillian is reportedly willing to relocate in Barcelona, but Liverpool have maintained a firm stance that Coutinho will not be allowed to leave the club this summer. Reds fans would likely oppose the sale of Coutinho, seeing as the diminutive attacker finished last season as Liverpool's top scorer with 14 goals.
In truth, Milner is also a very important fixture in Jurgen Klopp's side given the former Manchester City man's versatility. Despite being a midfielder by trade, Milner has operated as a left-back at Anfield to great effect.
However, Liverpool fans were understandably baffled by Ince's comments and took to Twitter to voice their opinions.
Paul Ince actually thinks Milner is our best player. Dear lord.— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) August 2, 2017
No way has Paul Ince just said that James Milner is our best player. Some pundits are genuinely so clueless. They get paid for that too.— ‘ (@VintageFirmino) August 2, 2017
Liverpool's ongoing pre-season tour has largely been a positive one. The Reds recently prevailed over German giants Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup, winning 3-0. Moreover, Liverpool will continue their pre-season preparations with a match against Athletico Madrid on Wednesday night, before lining up against Athletic Club on the eighth of August.