By Paul Robinson

19th Aug, 2021 | 8:00pm

Pundit hails 'clever' move' after Liverpool swoop for Barnes

Paul Robinson has applauded Leicester City for tying Harvey Barnes down to a new contract amid reported interest from Liverpool.

The former England goalkeeper, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Foxes and the Reds are now direct rivals in the push for a top-four finish.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein reported on Monday (August 16th) how Leicester had moved to tie Barnes down amid “concrete interest” from Liverpool.

The Foxes today (August 19th) confirmed that the 23-year-old had signed a new deal running until the summer of 2025.

Robinson praised Leicester’s decision to extend Barnes’ terms and insisted they could not be seen selling to the likes of Liverpool.

“It’s a clever move,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

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“Leicester, in the last few seasons, have emerged as genuine Champions League contenders.

“Liverpool are the type of team that Leicester are now competing with, so they don’t want to be selling to their rivals.

“They especially don’t want to sell a quality player like Barnes, who has developed and really flourished under Brendan Rodgers.

“It’s a very wise move. It always frustrates me when teams let their best players run into the last 12 or 18 months on a contract.

“I think the sooner you can tie these top players up, the better.”

Barnes burst onto the scene on loan at West Brom, scoring nine goals in 28 Championship games in the 2018-19 season.

His form earned a recall to become part of Leicester’s first team.

“The England under-21 international has scored 16 goals in 78 Premier League games for the Foxes.

In other news, Robinson has backed Liverpool to compete again after huge signing.