Interviews

Barnes: Demanding Liverpool to win a trophy is unrealistic

Liverpool legend John Barnes spoke to FourFourTwo and asserted that although the Reds are a strong unit, they would be better off challenging for a top-four spot. 

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Speaking at Singtel TV’s Premier League 2017/2018 curtain-raiser, Barnes agreed that current manager Jurgen Klopp has had a massive impact on the club so far.

“He’s been positive. You can’t expect him to win titles straight away, but he’s maximised the potential of the players he has, which is a plus,” he shared with FourFourTwo.

The Klopp factor has had an impact on fans. He’s certainly created an environment to get the best of players

“The fans now love him and trust his decisions on transfers, which means that the team can keep doing well and improve.

“The Klopp factor has had an impact on fans. He’s certainly created an environment to get the best out of players.”

Barnes also approved of Klopp’s signings, with one of them being former Chelsea winger Mohamed Salah.

Having watched Salah during pre-season, Barnes was convinced he added quality to the squad at Liverpool.

Salah has impressed Barnes

This should give Klopp a selection dilemma, but the Liverpool legend was of the opinion that this could only be good for the club.

“Someone will have to sit out between Firmino, Mane and Salah, but Klopp has the power to keep them all motivated. We now have more quality in the squad,” he said.

“With the goalkeepers, Mignolet did well in the last few months so he should remain the main keeper. Karius and Ward are both capable replacements so it’s possible one could go out on loan.”

Challenging for a top four spot and being competitive in games will be a success

However, Barnes refused to entertain talks of Liverpool challenging for trophies, as he felt the Reds still lacked players who could propel them to glory.

“Challenging for a top four spot and being competitive in games will be a success. I’m not interested in cup matches; we need to be progressive in the league,” he added.

“Demanding to win a trophy will be unrealistic. We have a very good squad with two strong 11s.

“What we do need are two players who can go straight into the team, not the squad. We have the strength in depth but we need quality to strengthen and help us win the league.”

Barnes made over 400 appearances for Liverpool

Two players who would fit the bill are Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk, who Liverpool have relentlessly been linked with in recent weeks.

However, Liverpool have failed to meet the valuations of both players.

“Both players would be great acquisitions and with transfers anything can change. There is still a month to go,” Barnes added.

“Klopp would want his players in before the season starts, but with Liverpool their targets want more money than the club are willing to pay.

We can’t replace Coutinho with another Coutinho because you can’t get one.

“It’ll go right down to the wire. It’s not ideal, because you want your players in before but I think that the big clubs always do a lot of business later on when somebody has to blink.

“The club will either drop their fee or you’ll pay the price. If they don’t come in though, Klopp will trust the players he already has.”

There is also the potential loss of Coutinho, whose departure could hurt the club, but Barnes felt that this would not necessarily be the case.

“If he wants to stay I’d want him to stay, but if he wants to go I don’t want him to stay as you can’t keep an unhappy player. They will adapt to his loss in a different way,” he said.

“We can’t replace Coutinho with another Coutinho because you can’t get one.

“We will still be competitive and win matches in a different way, by being more direct and stronger. Klopp has the intelligence to know that.