By Noel Whelan

13th Sep, 2022 | 6:00am

Pundit accuses James Milner amid new Liverpool development - 'I hate to say it'

Noel Whelan has claimed James Milner is the “obvious choice” to make way for Thiago Alcantara in the Liverpool midfield.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, backed Harvey Elliott to remain in the side as he is “the future” of the Anfield side.

Thiago, 31, returned to action as a substitute in the 4-1 Champions League loss at Napoli last week (7 September) and could be available to start against Ajax in Liverpool’s second group game against Ajax on Tuesday (13 September).

Milner started in central midfield in Italy and has deputised in the Premier League amid injuries to the likes of Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The veteran, who has racked up almost 600 Premier League games, signed a one-year extension at the end of last season.

Whelan claimed Elliott, who has started six of Liverpool’s seven games this term, is the “shining light” at Anfield at present.

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When asked who could come out of the side to be replaced by Thiago, he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think you’ve got to look at James Milner.

“I hate to say it, because I love the lad. He’s been a fantastic servant for every club he’s been at, and he’s been great for the Premier League.

“But when you look at what Harvey Elliott brings – he was one of the shining lights against Napoli. He was trying to make things happen for Liverpool.

“Milner is the obvious choice because he’s a bit more comparable to Thiago.

“Elliott is the one player they need out there right now, because he is the longevity and the future of this football club.

“Even at a tender age, he’s showing maturity in his performances.

“As much as I love Milner, I think he’ll accept – and probably expect – this decision.”

In other news, ex-Fifa official claims Liverpool have “big” problem after unprecedented development.