By Noel Whelan

3rd Sep, 2020 | 9:49am

Exclusive: Pundit fears Liverpool first-team star may quit after Sky reveal

Noel Whelan suggests Liverpool may sell Georginio Wijnaldum this summer as the Barcelona target well into the final 12 months of his contract at Anfield.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Leeds United striker claimed that the Reds could cope with the loss of the 29-year-old with Naby Keita in the ranks.

Sky Sports revealed yesterday that new Barca boss Ronald Koeman wants the Dutch midfielder, whom he knows from his time in charge of the Netherlands, to play a “pivotal role” in his side next season.

Wijnaldum has been an integral part of a Jurgen Klopp side that has enjoyed great success over the past two seasons and helped end the club’s 30-year wait for a league title.

The centre-midfielder’s contract expires next June and Whelan claims that this presents the club with a major dilemma.

“Barcelona are in a bit of a mess,” he told Football Insider.

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“The are definitely in a transition period, that is for sure. When you look at the ages of the players now and the way that they got defeated by Bayern Munich was unheard of.

“Barca need to start rebuilding and Ronald Koeman will want players that he knows. Koeman knows Wijnaldum very, very well.

“With just a year left on his Liverpool contract the club have to weigh up whether it is worth the risk of losing him for nothing in 12 months.

“Perhaps it is time to cash in knowing that they have Keita coming through.”

Wijnaldum scored 6 goals in 47 appearances for the Reds last season and played the full 90 minutes of Saturday’s Community Shield loss to Arsenal.

Big-money signing Naby Keita has so far failed to establish himself at Anfield due to a series of niggling injuries over the past two seasons.

In other Liverpool news, Kevin Phillips has told Football Insider that Klopp has “a big decision to make” regarding the future of attacker this summer.