Former Liverpool winger John Barnes is confident that his old team are getting closer to champions Manchester City – enough to believe that this will be the season when the league title finally returns to Anfield.
“In terms of consistency, yes they’re closing in on City,” Barnes tells FourFourTwo. “When they play at their best, they’re as good as anybody, but they haven’t been consistent until now.
“Now they are, so yes, I think they’ll push Manchester City again. I think those two are way ahead of the other four: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.”
Barnes can see a connection between manager Jurgen Klopp and the fans, a growing bond that is now starting to feed through to the players.
“Klopp’s got that passion that football fans like, he wears his heart on his sleeve,” says the 55-year-old, an ambassador for BonusCodeBets.
“Scousers like to show their feelings, so he’s a great fit.
“And he’s also a great manager because he understands what he wants from his team and his players reflect that, with the endeavour and the intensity with which they play, but also the quality.
“It’s different with Manchester City, who are a much more technical team.
“Klopp and Pep Guardiola are both technical coaches but just in a different way. There’s no right or wrong in this sort of situation.
“But City don’t really play with that same intensity and drive. They control the game, and they may beat Liverpool as they did in the league, but in terms of what the Liverpool fans like, what they want, Klopp’s team suits them perfectly.”
So can the Reds go that one giant step further this time and win their first league title since 1990, when Barnes top scored with 22 goals?
The ex-England international is certain that they will.
“I think they’ll win the league this year,” he says. “Winning the Champions League has given us that confidence, that determination.
“The thing about Liverpool now is that no matter who they play, whether that’s Manchester City away in the league or Swindon in the cup, they’ll play with the same determination and desire.
“They’ll do that and they’ll do that consistently, which is why I think they’ll win the title.”
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