Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers facing reality of failing to qualify for the Champions LeagueGetty

Liverpool legend John Barnes says his former club will not be able to attract world class players in the transfer market.

Brendan Rodgers saw his side finish sixth on the league table, a year after falling short of Manchester City for the title. The Merseyside club have already agreed a deal for James Milner and Danny Ings, who will be free agents on 30 June.

The former winger has urged the Reds not to gamble as he believes Liverpool are not in a position to compete with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in the transfer market.

"They can't take a gamble any more. They can't get the best in the world. Liverpool can't compete with Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United from a salary perspective so they are going to have to maybe find another [Philippe] Coutinho," Barnes told talkSPORT.

After five years of absence, Liverpool returned to the Champions League during the 2014/15 season. They were knocked out in the group stages of the competition and did not enjoy a great run in the Europa League as well.

The 18-times English champions will miss out on Europe's elite club competition next season. And the ex-England winger has warned Liverpool fans that it will take time for the Reds to return to the top.

"It's going to take time. Steven Gerrard is not there, Luis Suarez is not there and Daniel Sturridge may be injured. Fans are going to have to be patient," the former winger explained.

"The expectation levels will have to drop. It's not so much who they need, it's what they can get. They aren't going to be able to go out and get a [Karim] Benzema."

However, Barnes has backed Ings to shine at Liverpool as he believes the striker's addition will only strengthen the Anfield club's attacking division.

"It's a good signing for the squad. He's a proven striker in Premier League. He's aggressive which I think is what Liverpool lacked. It's about strengthening the squad as well as getting quality," Barnes concluded.