Barnes im­pressed with Liver­pool boss in lead­ing club to the Cham­pi­ons League de­spite a weak squad

New Straits Times - - Sport - JOHN BARNES


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.

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