Liverpool’s contract stand-off with Mo Salah will come to a head in the next few weeks and John Barnes has fired a warning to the Egyptian as he ponders his future.
Salah has stated publicly that he wants to extend his Liverpool contract that is due to expire in the summer of 2023. However, there are suggestions that the player, his agent and the club are unlikely to find common ground in discussions over a new deal.
Reports claim Salah and his agent Ramy Abbas Issa are demanding a salary package of around £500,000-a-week. And Salah recently labelled the talks sensitive. But Liverpool are unlikely to match that demand for a player who will turn 30 this summer.
Now Liverpool legend Barnes has warned Salah, who told GQ magazine he is not looking for “crazy stuff”, that he will be gambling with his future on the field if he leaves Anfield in pursuit of more cash elsewhere. And he has declared that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was the key figure in his emergence as a global superstar.
Speaking exclusively to TEAMtalk at a Gambling.com event, former Liverpool playmaker Barnes suggests Salah would be wise to consider his ambitions on the field rather than focusing on finances.
“If Mo Salah is demanding terms on a contract that are out of Liverpool’s reach, they will have to say no. It’s as simple as that,” said Barnes. “You cannot just give in to everything a player or his agent wants. That’s not how Liverpool works.
“All I would say to the player is he needs to look at the bigger picture because Mo Salah has to appreciate what he has at Liverpool. He would not do what he does at Real Madrid because the team would not be designed around him. And that’s the story for him at every club he might think about joining. It’s something he needs to think about when it comes to the contract debate.
“Liverpool will be looking at his age, nearly 30, how long he will be at the top of his game and whether he can stay at the level he is at now for another four years. All of those factors will be in play now.”
Barnes believes Salah will enjoy more success in his career if he continues to work with Klopp at Liverpool. He says the German is a master of making the most of the recourses he has to work with.
“Klopp has not got the most money to spend. But he is the master of making the most of what he has got,” added Barnes.
“You often hear people say he has a limited budget at Liverpool, but that’s not true. He has spent a lot of money. The difference is, he doesn’t have an unlimited budget like Manchester City.
“So what he has needed to do is spend wisely. Liverpool’s ethos has never been to buy all the best players and Klopp has got the right players in the right positions to bring the success he has enjoyed.
Salah should appreciate Klopp
“I don’t remember Real Madrid being linked with Luis Diaz, but look at the impact he has made at Liverpool. The same with Diogo Jota. Who was looking to sign him from Wolves? He has been a magnificent signing.
“Salah was another one no one was looking at and he has become a huge star at Liverpool. Now we are saying they are world-class players. That’s all down to Klopp and the way he fits them into his team.
“He sees a player who can fit into his style of play and gets the best out of them. It’s a great skill. He also works with players on the training ground and makes them better, which is not something we see all the time.
“Look at Manchester United. They have some great players there, but they have not improved during their time at United. That’s down to management and the stature at the club that is not helping them
“It’s different with Klopp and Liverpool. They have a formula that works. One of the best managers in the world and the Liverpool players should appreciate that they are at a great club at the right time.”
John Barnes was speaking to TEAMtalk at a Gambling.com event.