Jamie Carragher believes Emre Can could be set to leave Liverpool in the summer, suggesting he will continue to struggle for game time in midfield.
Can is enjoying a run in the side at present due to injury to Jordan Henderson, with the captain not due to return until the Merseyside derby on April 1.
The 23-year-old scored the winner in Sunday’s 2-1 victory at home to Burnley, building on an excellent showing in the 3-1 win over Arsenal the previous weekend.
But speaking after that game, Carragher pointed towards Henderson’s return, and the competition for a place in the holding role in midfield, as he cast doubt over Can’s long-term future.
“Can’s big problem is that I don’t think he’s a versatile player but he’s played in four or five positions for Liverpool,” he said.
“The only position I think he can play is the one he played [against Burnley], the sitting midfielder, because he needs legs around him. [Klopp] is playing Jordan Henderson ahead of him.
“Now, he’s got a contract situation at the moment, Emre Can. Is he going to sign it? Is he not?
“I think he may have 12 months at the end of the season, and there is a good chance he may not be here next season.
“I don’t see, when the first XI is picked, where else he can play except that role.
“That role is for the captain, Jordan Henderson, who I can see how much he is missed in the last three or four games he’s been out.”
Can has struggled for consistency throughout this season so far, after a busy summer at the European Championship in France and then a series of fitness issues.
But he looks to be getting back to his best, and after the victory on Sunday, Klopp reserved praise for his compatriot and his ability to bounce back.
“Emre is a boy with an outstanding attitude,” he told reporters.
“He’s had a few problems with his calf in the last few months, which we couldn’t sort quickly enough.
“Not because of our medical department but because sometimes he had it, sometimes not. A lot of specialists have been around to try and find out.
“But the situation was like this, that we could not say ‘go on holiday for four weeks and maybe it’s better then’—that’s not the situation.
“So it looks like we’ve found the solution now and he doesn’t have these problems any more.”
Can is reported to be seeking a wage increase to around £100,000 a week, which would make him one of the club’s highest earners.
He may still have a way to go before he justifies such a salary, but Klopp clearly has faith in the midfielder, and won’t be willing to part ways with him any time soon.