John Barnes insists Jurgen Klopp would have been sacked by Liverpool after his slow start if he was black.
The German coach guided the Reds to an eighth-placed finish after being appointed in October 2015, before losing finals in the Europa League and League Cup.
He has since led Liverpool to Champions League glory and ended their 30-year wait for a top-flight title.
Barnes, who was speaking in light of Greg Clarke’s resignation as Football Association chairman after calling Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic players ‘coloured’, is adamant discrimination exists at top Premier League clubs.
The former Liverpool winger told PlayOJO: “You can put structures in place, but until you change your perception, nothing will change.
“I use Klopp as an example. How successful was he really in the first two years in terms of being 25 points off the top? But we believed that he was the right man.
“Under different circumstances, he would have lost his job. If he was black, he would have lost his job in those first two years.
“If he was English, he would have lost his job.
“This is where the idea of discrimination is a little bit strange because there’s a group of people who are discriminated against in English football and the very highest level in the Premier League.
“Now, the top six teams will not have a white English manager. Yes, you can say Frank Lampard, as people have pointed out, but that’s because he has a special bond with Chelsea and that’s the only reason he managed Chelsea.
“But under different circumstances he wouldn’t have got that job.”