By Merseyside correspondent Cam Downes
Liverpool have given James Milner a deadline until the end of May to accept their contract offer, Football Insider sources understand.
The Merseysiders have offered the Manchester City midfielder a four-year contract in a bid to capture him this summer.
But Liverpool want an answer from Milner by the end of the as month they assess their options ahead of what is expected to be significant overhaul of their squad in the summer.
Liverpool are keen to win the race to sign the England international ahead of a string of Premier League and overseas clubs.
Milner, 29, is out of contract in the summer, when he can join another English club on a free transfer. He has been able to sign a pre-contract with a foreign club since January but is expected to remain in the Premier League.
Milner has rejected a series of attempts by City to tie him to a new long-term contract, with manager Manuel Pellegrini admitting one factor could be the player’s desire for regular first-team football.
Pellegrini has made it clear that he wants Milner to stay, describing him as a “phenomenon” and English football’s “most complete player”.
Liverpool believe their offer of a four-year deal, combined with the lure of regular first-team football, could be enough to persuade Milner to move to Anfield.
Speaking in January, manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted that he is an admirer of Milner. “James is a wonderful player,” said Rodgers. “He’s been an outstanding footballer since the time I saw him at Leeds as a young player.”
Milner’s ability to play in virtually any position, including central midfield, attacking midfield, full-back and even as a withdrawn striker have made him a leading target for Liverpool.
The club’s transfer policy is to buy and develop young players with sell-on value but the Anfield recruitment team regard Milner as a good value option, given that there would be no transfer fee involved for a player who could be expected to fetch around £20m if he was under contract.