Jurgen Klopp believes James Milner has what it takes to retain his Liverpool spot for six more years, despite appearing to be entering the twilight years of his career.
The versatile 32-year-old has been an imperative part of the German's progression in the Anfield dugout since his free transfer from Manchester City in 2015.
And while speaking to the Daily Mirror, the Kop boss insisted that the Englishman can keep playing at the top level until he is 38.
“With Milly for sure, age is no issue. He is a naturally skilled boy, he’s such a sports guy, he is good at each sport he tries,” Klopp said.
“In life, if you are 32 in any company in the world they would tell you to wait a few years then get a real job! In football, it’s like you’re already close to retirement.
“Our players can play until 36, 37 even 38, and because of his physical abilities, I am pretty sure Milly is one of them if he is lucky with injuries. The end is not to see, and his desire to improve is exceptional.”
The year is 2041. 51 year old James Milner is still bombing up and down the pitch every week in the Premier League. There are calls for him to come back for next year's World Cup.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) August 20, 2018
England manager Neil Warnock says there's every chance he'd bring him to Mars for the tournament.
Like Anfield hero Steven Gerrard, who was with the Merseysiders until turning 35, Milner has adapted his game in recent years to provide more of a defensive option, with the former winger even offering solid cover at full back when required.
And despite the veteran's age, as well as Liverpool's big-money summer acquisition of Fabinho, the 32-year-old's consistency has made him an automatic starter under Klopp, alongside his assists.
“Since I worked with him, it was always good," the German coach added. "He started in different positions, different systems.
"He was full-back, now he is in midfield, but all our players are influential. That’s how it should be.”
Milner is expected to be in contention for a starting place when the Reds welcome Brighton & Hove Albion to Anfield on Saturday evening, where the hosts will have the chance to take top spot in the Premier League following Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Wolves earlier in the day.