Liverpool midfielder James Milner does not need the carrot of Champions League football to increase his desire to triumph in Wednesday’s Europa League final against Sevilla.
England midfielder Milner is in his first season with Liverpool and could help Jurgen Klopp’s men return to Europe’s top competition with victory in Basle.
As victors last term, Sevilla were the first team to benefit from a UEFA rule that grants the Europa League winners a place in the Champions League, only to drop back into the former competition by finishing third in their group.
But Milner’s primary concern is to land a ninth continental title for Liverpool and to add another medal to the haul he accrued during five years with Manchester City.
“It’s a nice bonus [Champions League qualification] but I can honestly say we haven’t thought about it much,” he told a pre-match news conference.
“The first aim and the only aim at this moment in time is winning that trophy and adding to the great history of this club.
“If we can do that and that puts us in the Champions League next year, then great.
“So much is put on [finishing in the Premier League] top four. Everyone wants to play in the Champions League, it’s a great competition.
“But if you look back on a career with no trophies but you played in the Champion League for six seasons, it’s not the same.
“That’s not going to fill up the cabinet. If you look back on your career, ultimately you want to win trophies. Any European trophy is fantastic.”
Liverpool lost on penalties in February’s League Cup final against Manchester City – the club Milner left at the end of his contract in June 2015 to move to Anfield.
The 30-year-old is keen to atone for that setback and grant boss Jurgen Klopp the first silverware of his Liverpool reign.
“I had a tough decision to make last year and I think I was in a fortunate position – whatever I decided to do I would have been happy,” he added.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first season here. It’s a massive football club and one that’s used to winning trophies.
“We’ve put ourselves in two cup finals this year, lost one but hopefully we can turn that round in this one.
“It’d hopefully be the first trophy of many as a squad and with this manager.”
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