Jamie Redknapp is adamant that Georginio Wijnaldum is not irreplaceable for Liverpool and he insists the Reds are fully justified in the stance they have taken over his contract.
Wijnaldum has been a vital cog in the transformation of Liverpool into serial trophy winners over the past five years. His tireless displays in the engine room have helped lay the foundations for others in the team to shine. However, with his contract nearing expiry, his stint at Anfield appears to be coming to an end.
The 30-year-old has long been rumoured to be a free agent target for Spanish giants Barcelona.
The Catalan club are deep in debt, making Wijnaldum an ideal capture through the lack of a transfer fee involved.
An overwhelming amount of evidence has pointed towards his departure. As such, the player himself recently opened up on the speculation.
That said, Wijnaldum is one of Liverpool’s most consistent and reliable players. Only left-back Andy Robertson has played more Premier League minutes for the club this season.
However, Redknapp does not believe that means owners FSG should change their approach to big contracts for players over 30.
“They do run the club in a stats-based way and you have to trust what they are doing here,” Redknapp told the PA news agency.
“I understand what they are trying to do, they are not just going to throw money away and give players long contracts.
“That is their model and it has worked so well for them. So you have to believe in what they are trying to do. You also can’t be held to ransom by players.
“Wijnaldum has been a brilliant signing for Liverpool. His energy levels are fantastic but they have a feeling that, long-term, giving a player that much money until he is 33 or 34… they don’t want to do it.
“I am sure Jurgen Klopp won’t want to lose him as you can’t deny he is a fantastic player. But he is not irreplaceable, you can find players like him, and Liverpool will be in the market trying to find the next Wijnaldum.
“Time will tell whether it is the right decision but I do understand what Liverpool are trying to do.”
Redknapp insists top-four is possible for Liverpool
Klopp’s side return to action on Saturday in a tricky-looking fixture at improving Arsenal. The Reds need to build some momentum following the win against Wolves before the international break.
A top-four finish still looks difficult as they are currently seventh and five points behind Chelsea in fourth.
Another route is open to them in the Champions League should they win the competition. Indeed, they face Real Madrid next week in the quarter-finals of the competition.
However, Redknapp insists it is not impossible that Liverpool qualify via the Premier League.
“Of course they can make the top four but I think they have to find some rhythm and confidence,” Redknapp added.
“It is going to take a lot of doing now, they are going to have to go on a really good run of form, they are going to have to find the right balance defensively.
“I think Liverpool are outsiders but they certainly can get in the top four because this is the period when you need a run of form and anyone can find it.
“Chelsea are on a great run now but it only takes or two games to destabilise that and everything can change.
“Anything can happen, I think Leicester last year proved that. They were in brilliant form, bankers for the top four, lockdown came and they completely went.”