The Reds legend is adamant that a campaign without silverware would not be a failure at Anfield, with decisions resting with individual players
John Barnes says a trophyless season for Liverpool would “not be a failure” and should not result in star men mulling over their options when it comes to possible moves away from Anfield.
The Reds have secured silverware on a regular basis in recent seasons, with Champions League, World Cup Club and Premier League title honours coming their way.
No domestic cups will be claimed this season, while a top-flight crown that took 30 years to recapture is in danger of slipping through their grasp.
Exit talk has already been sparked around certain members of a star-studded squad, with Georginio Wijnaldum on Barcelona’s radar as he heads towards free agency.
Mohamed Salah has also seen a switch to Spain mooted, but Barnes doubts that one campaign without medals will have key men weighing up their futures.
The Reds legend told BonusCodeBets: “If they feel they can go to a better club than Liverpool then that’s up to them but it’s important to remember that the season would not, at all, be a failure if Liverpool weren’t to win anything.
“I don’t think winning a trophy would necessarily mean that players would want to leave Liverpool. Because if we finish somewhere at the top of the table and played as well as we have done, yet didn’t win a trophy, that doesn’t mean that the team has failed.
“Yes, losing to Brighton the other day wasn’t ideal – it’s football and these things happen – but it doesn’t mean that you have to start to write off an entire team.
“If you’re a few points off the top, that shows that you’re consistently challenging each week and you’re performing in a good manner. It’s always about how close you can get to the top of the league, which shows how good you are as a team. The trophies are then the bonus to all that hard work.
“For a player such as Wijnaldum with his contract coming to an end it’s obviously up to him to decide whether he’ll stay or go – but I don’t think that his decision will have anything to do with Liverpool winning the league or not this season.
“At this stage of his career, Wijnaldum would want to be somewhere where’s guaranteed to be played rather than just looking for the big bucks – and if he feels that Liverpool will give his that, then I think he’ll stay – but it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out.”
For now, Liverpool’s focus is locked on trying to finish the 2020-21 campaign as positively as possible, with Barnes confident that a top-four finish will be secured despite the Reds struggling for consistency.
“Nothing’s ever wrapped up, but I don’t think that any of the other teams are putting together a very consistent run either,” Barnes said on the battle for Champions League qualification.
“I mean, West Ham are the team below them. Does anybody really believe West Ham, as much as they’re doing well at the moment, are going to put a run together to really finish in top four? Tottenham or Aston Villa or any of the other teams?
“To be honest, although it’s tough for Liverpool just now especially as teams such as Manchester City are playing with a lot of confidence, I don’t think that there’s anyone who can oust Liverpool from the top four.
“Also, it’s important to remember that this hasn’t been an ordinary season and we’ve seen a lot of players being off because of Covid or other injuries, but still, at this stage of the season, there’s everything to play for.”