Glen Johnson
Liverpool's Glen Johnson has less than a year left on his contract at Anfield.Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

Mark Lawrenson has urged Liverpool to sell defender Glen Johnson in January rather than letting him leave Anfield for nothing at the end of this season.

The England international has less than a year left on his current contract and the Reds have not handed him a new deal. He has started only in five Premier League games this season and was also dropped by Roy Hodgson for the Three Lions upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Brendan Rodgers signed Javi Manquillo on-loan Atletico Madrid and also has the services of Jon Flanagan in the right-back position. The former Liverpool defender believes the Merseyside club are unwilling to hand him a new contract and they are better off cashing in on his sale in the mid-season transfer window.

"Roy Hodgson effectively called time on Glen Johnson's England career last week. And I wouldn't be surprised if the right-back finds himself heading elsewhere in the New Year," Lawrenson told the Liverpool Echo.

"Having not yet been given a new contract, it's clear Johnson is not part of Liverpool's long-term plans, with Javi Manquillo and, when fit, Jon Flanagan vying for the right-back slot."

"Johnson can walk away from Anfield for nothing in the summer. So I'd expect the Reds to look to cash in on him in January," he added.

Meanwhile, Lawrenson believes the former Swansea manager needs to hand more playing time to midfielder Lucas Leiva, especially after the Brazilian midfielder's impressive display against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu.

"Lucas Leiva will have given the Reds boss something to ponder with his performance in Madrid. The Brazilian has fallen down the pecking order and could easily have been shipped out of the club during the summer," the Anfield favourite said.

"But he has held firm. And now there is an opening for him to stake a more regular claim. Lucas is generally a 7/10 player. He isn't going to change games, but he rarely lets you down and he knows his job."

"And if you are team struggling for form, if you get enough 7/10 performances then you have a chance of changing from bad to good. Management is about keeping an open mind with players. So Lucas now deserves a chance," Lawrenson concluded.

"But he has held firm. And now there is an opening for him to stake a more regular claim. Lucas is generally a 7/10 player. He isn't going to change games, but he rarely lets you down and he knows his job."

"And if you are team struggling for form, if you get enough 7/10 performances then you have a chance of changing from bad to good. Management is about keeping an open mind with players. So Lucas now deserves a chance," Lawrenson concluded.