Liverpool will not be “held to ransom” in contract talks with Georginio Wijnaldum, says John Barnes, with the Reds only interested in players who “want to play for the badge”.
The Netherlands international midfielder is yet to commit to fresh terms at Anfield and is due to hit free agency in the summer of 2021.
He will be free to speak to suitors outside of England from January, with reports of interest from La Liga giants Barcelona refusing to go away.
Barnes would like to see Liverpool do a deal with Wijnaldum when another transfer window opens, as they explore other recruitment options in the new year, but is not convinced that they should be bowing to pressure when it comes to salary demands.
The Reds legend told BonusCodeBets: “Georginio Wijnaldum is a great player, I’m not sure if it would be Liverpool’s best piece of business in the window, but you want a player who is happy to stay.
“It would be great if both the player and club could come to an agreement in this window for a new deal, but I don’t feel as though Liverpool will be held to ransom and give him a four-year deal on high wages.
“The good thing about Liverpool is all of the players at the club want to play for the badge, they will all give 100 per cent and try to help Liverpool to win the league, which is all that can be asked for by a squad of players. I hope he stays.”
While hoping to see the services of Wijnaldum retained, Barnes believes Liverpool have enough talent in a star-studded squad to counter any departures.
The Reds certainly boast the firepower to keep themselves competitive, with Brazil international striker Roberto Firmino among those to have enjoyed a welcome return to form of late.
Barnes said of the South American, who has netted three times across impressive victories over Tottenham and Crystal Palace: “For me, Roberto Firmino was always one of the most important players in the Liverpool team.
“When you look at the front three, he is equally as important as both Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in my opinion.
“I never thought his position in the front three was ever under threat, he is far more important than just a striker that scores goals.
“He creates chances for the team and is largely the reason why Salah and Mane score as many goals as they do. He works hard and Jurgen Klopp knows what a valuable asset he is to the Liverpool team.
“It’s great to see him get on the scoresheet again, but I don’t feel his position would ever be under threat for a lack of goals as he brings so much more with his game. Having said that, I’m happy to see him scoring again.”
Liverpool, who sit top of the Premier League table at Christmas, will be back in action on Sunday when they play host to West Brom.