ALL PRAISE FOR KLOPP
Barnes impressed with Liverpool boss in leading club to the Champions League despite a weak squad
LIVERPOOL legend John Barnes has praised Jurgen Klopp for returning the club to the Champions League with a squad weaker than that of their rivals who missed out on the top four.
A 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Anfield on Sunday sealed fourth place for Liverpool, with Arsenal missing out on the Champions League for the first time in 20 years while Manchester United have been left to pursue a place via Europa League glory.
Liverpool have won Europe’s elite club competition five times, the most in England, but have played in it only once in the last seven seasons.
“It’s a great for Liverpool, being back in the Champions League,” Barnes, who played 407 times for Liverpool from 1987-97, said. “The club should be in the Champions League, it is where we believe we belong. That is where all the big clubs want to belong.
“For Jurgen Klopp, all you can ask any manager to do is to maximise the potential of the team, and this is what he has done.
“You look at Manchester United finishing sixth for example, they have got a better squad. Arsenal have got a better squad and they finished fifth.
“Jurgen Klopp is not a magician, you can’t just ask him to win the league with the squad we have. But the Champions League is important to entice a few players.”
Klopp said after the win against Boro that transfer negotiations were already underway and
The club should be in the Champions League, it is where we believe we belong. That is where all the big clubs want to belong.
Barnes would like to see Liverpool improve their strength in depth as they prepare to compete across four competitions next season.
“They need more numbers,” Barnes said. “Klopp is the right man. I think their best 11, Liverpool can compete against anyone. They should look at overall quality rather than a particular position.
“We’ve competed for the top four, we’ve finished in the top four but if we want to go to the next level, we need to improve the squad.”
Of the current side, Barcelona are considering a move for star man Philippe Coutinho while Emre Can is yet to sign a contract extension and Daniel Sturridge has been linked with a move away after another season of injury frustration.
Barnes urged Liverpool fans to back Klopp’s ruling as the squad is finessed.
“Every club will have issues holding on to key players because of the nature of modern football,” Barnes said. “Yes Liverpool are in the Champions League, that helps, but money talks.
“Emre Can is one that the manager likes and from a contractual situation, there are lots of reasons why a player won’t immediately sign. Will he go on to a club that’s better than Liverpool? A Real Madrid or Barcelona? Probably not.
“If Klopp wants to keep Can, the club will do whatever it takes, I’m sure.
“I think Daniel Sturridge can get in the Liverpool team as the No 1 striker. Everyone wants to see a fit and motivated Sturridge. I expect him to be there next year.” Daily Mail
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has earned the bouquets from John Barnes for taking the Reds back to the Champions League.