Sadio Mane & Georginio Wijnaldum among those facing decisions on Liverpool future

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Jurgen Klopp and Sadio Mane have both picked up November awards
Image: Will Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp reward Sadio Mane with a new contract?

Four of Liverpool's Champions League-winning squad are facing decisions on their future with differing degrees of urgency.

The situation is further complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty as to when football will resume and what next season will look like in terms of scheduling.

That means, for now, the club has more pressing things to deal with than finalising new deals or departures for Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana.

With the help of former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, their situations are assessed...

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Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane of Liverpool celebrates after scoring   between Liverpool FC and Bournemouth at Anfield
Image: Mane has reportedly attracted interest from Real Madrid

The least pressing situation is that of Mane. He's signed up until 2023, while Lallana is out of contract at the end of June with Lovren and Wijnaldum's deals running until the following summer.

However, in Mane's case, with no prospect of contract talks in the current climate, there is no sign of the link with Real Madrid disappearing either.

The figures being talked about to prise him away range from £130m to £150m. Good money for a 28-year-old. But does his value to the team and a strike rate of around one goal every two games mean more than the potential profit on the £34m Liverpool paid Southampton four years ago?

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Warnock believes it does.

"It is important that they try and tie him down because you want to keep your best assets at the club to help bring other big players in," he said.

"Those players want to play with the best not second best.

"From Mane's point of view he's got a manager there that adores him, fans that adore him and he knows the system that he's playing in.

Sadio Mane shoots narrowly over with an acrobatic effort
Image: Mane has scored 77 goals since joining Liverpool from Southampton

"Don't forget the way Liverpool have grown over the last four to five years under Jurgen Klopp. In the last two years they've elevated themselves into an elite team now and Mane is arguably Liverpool's crown jewel in all of that.

"I'm sure if he was to knock on the door and ask for a new contract he'd be rewarded for it as well."

Should Mane decide to go the other way and agitate for a move, Liverpool, under sporting director Michael Edwards, have a track record of only selling when it suits them.

"Look at the Luis Suarez situation and Philippe Coutinho," Warnock added. "Liverpool handled both of those situations very well, signing them to new contracts and bumping the value of the player up if you like.

"If Liverpool were to cash in on Mane, then now is probably the time to do it because, with his age, his value is probably at its peak or in and around it.

"But, for Liverpool, they'll just want to extend the contract, because to go out and replace Sadio Mane would cost an astronomical amount of money in an uncertain financial climate and would that player then come in and fit in straight away?"

The fan's view - John Gibbons of The Anfield Wrap

"He's just as important now as Mo Salah. In fact it's a genuine front three and if we lost any of them then it would be a real blow for Liverpool just because of how well they all play together and how hard they work.

"I think they could do with another one to come in to be able to give them a bit of a rest. At the moment it's get them on the pitch as much as possible and if one is injured there's an obvious drop there.

"But keeping these great players at the club and building from there is how Liverpool keep progressing. Madrid's money might be tempting with Mane's age, but you'd still have to replace him and then you're taking a gamble on someone else who might not have the same impact.

"I'd rather see the money and the talent on the pitch. Also with Liverpool being back as one of the Premier clubs in Europe it's a bit easier to persuade them that they can win anything they want at Liverpool."

Georginio Wijnaldum

Gini Wijnaldum celebrates after putting Liverpool 1-0 up at Anfield
Image: Georginio Wijnaldum has only 14 months remaining on his contract at Anfield

When the time is right, Warnock also expects a new deal for Wijnaldum.

There remains surprise on Merseyside that such an influential player is now down to the last 14 months of his contract.

"Wijnaldum has been a revelation since he arrived at the club," Warnock said. "With the arrival of [Naby] Keita and Fabinho, you wondered whether he would get in the starting XI. But his form in the last couple of years has been outstanding.

"I'm sure the club understands his value, how important he is and what he brings to the team, so, I'm not too worried because I do feel that one will get done."

The fan's view

"It's a bit of a mystery to Liverpool fans, the Wijnaldum situation, because he's been such a key player for Liverpool.

"It's one of those contract situations where everyone thinks it will be done soon, but we are getting to just over a year left on his contract and all talk of any new deals is on hold.

"I think maybe they are trying to avoid having players well into their 30s on big money and not playing so much.

"But we all hope he stays. He's a popular player at the club, he can play a couple of different positions and he's just a great team player. So, hopefully it will get done, most Liverpool fans I know certainly want that to be the case."

Dejan Lovren

Dejan Lovren
Image: Liverpool refused to entertain bids for Dejan Lovren in January

Could Dejan Lovren also end up extending his Anfield career beyond 2021?

Even before it's decided how the next transfer window will work, Lovren has again been linked with a move away.

Last summer Roma failed to agree a deal with Liverpool, while Klopp refused to entertain bids for him in January.

In February, Lovren said: "Of course I want to be in the team that wins many trophies. I think and I feel that I have quite a lot of years to give, especially in professional football. I'm 30, so another good five years. I don't think I'm just a throwaway."

Warnock agrees.

"He is still a top-class defender," he said. "To replace Dejan Lovren with a player of equal or better quality, how much is that going to cost Liverpool and is it a gamble you can take?

"Jurgen Klopp knows Lovren is a good professional, he likes him in and around the changing room. Lovren also has a great relationship with Mo Salah and [as a manager] you have to be careful what you do within the changing room.

"Lovren also knows he will be called upon at certain times. With Liverpool fighting on seven fronts this season he knew he was going to get game time. Again next season there will be plenty of games. So, I can see him staying and it wouldn't be a surprise, in the end, if he were to sign an extension to his deal."

The fan's view

"It may be better for him and for the club to sort of say goodbye. It's very much a settled two with Van Dijk the superstar and Gomez the preferred partner. Joel Matip's someone who's come in and been dependable as well, he played in the Champions League final.

"So I think for Dejan, you're looking at that thinking I could have a good career somewhere else. He is a good player, he's played in a World Cup final and he might be thinking: 'The age I am, do I really want to be hanging around not knowing when my next game is, only coming in for injuries, or do I want to go and do something else?'

"But it'll be up to Dejan. I think Jurgen would always have a place for him around the squad if he wanted. He's Mo Salah's best mate as well so that's got to count for something hasn't it?"

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana
Image: Adam Lallana is attracting interest from Leicester ahead of the next transfer window

The one certain departure appears to be Adam Lallana.

Although that will be dictated by the time-frame in which the current season can resume and what knock-on effect that has for those players, like Lallana, whose deals finish at the end of June.

Since January, Lallana has been allowed to speak with foreign clubs. Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers - the man who brought Lallana to the club - is keen on securing a deal to take him to Leicester.

Weighing up Lallana's situation in comparison to Wijnaldum and Lovren, the main difference, aside from time left on contract, is that Liverpool potentially have a young replacement coming through their ranks and ultimately that has swayed the decision in Warnock's view.

"How many games is Lallana going to play? Is he going to force his way into that midfield or front three? Possibly not," he said.

"But, what he brings is a wealth of experience. We've seen it this season where he's come in and affected games so well.

"However, you have to look to the future, you have to look at Curtis Jones and the progress he's made this season. He's shown he can play at a higher level and he's more than comfortable playing at that level.

"So, I think the club sees it that Curtis could be one of those players who comes through the academy, like Trent Alexander-Arnold, where not only his value rises but the quality he brings could be such a bonus for the club."

The fan's view

"His work rate and what he puts in for the team seems to be exactly what Klopp wants. His intelligence as well, he's tenacious and creative and everything points to him being a successful Klopp player.

"It's the injuries that have cost him. When Jurgen first came in he was doing the best with what he had, since then we've hardly made a duff move in the transfer market which means lots more good players have come in and it's just harder now to get into this team.

"There are really good players on the bench each week. There's one or two even who can't get in the squad, so that's what he's competing with now, the levels have risen."

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