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2016 03 24 Retrieve

[on Alan Shearer] Alan is not particularly quick but he usually reaches balls clipped over the top. He is not particularly tall but he scores frequently with his head. For someone who isn’t particularly skilful, Alan can drop his shoulder and drill a 30-yard right-footer past a keeper

2016 10 28 Retrieve

[Quote on Frank Rijkaard] He’s perhaps best known in retrospect for his time as a midfielder, but he started off his career as a centre-back – and that background made him a very tough holding midfielder. Frank was very strong on the ball. At 6ft 3in he was extremely powerful in the air, but he was also pretty quick and could place pinpoint passes – hence his later deployment in midfield. He could play as part of the zonal system or one-on-one equally effectively. He’d be well suited to the modern game

2018 07 07 Retrieve

[Liverpool may have tied Mohamed Salah to a new five-year contract, but John Barnes says they would still sell to Real Madrid if a £200 million ($266m) bid is tabled] Every club is a selling club. If Real Madrid offered £200m for Salah then he’d go and Liverpool would then be a selling club

2019 08 08 Retrieve

[John Barnes feels the Crystal Palace is too individualistic and not a strong enough team player to attract interest from Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola] I don’t feel Zaha fits into any team, I think he’s a bit of a maverick. He does what he does and plays by himself, not in a team. He likes to dribble around five defenders. Therefore, he can’t go to Man City and Liverpool; he can’t go wandering all over the field. He plays whatever position he wants for Crystal Palace, and picks up the ball on the right and the left – that’s not fitting into a team. He plays whatever position he wants for Crystal Palace, and picks up the ball on the right and the left – that’s not fitting into a team. I don’t think a player of his ilk should be looking to be a Plan B player to come off the bench

2020 04 16 Retrieve

[John Barnes slams Harry Kane amid Man Utd transfer speculation] It’s a bit sad when players say that [wanting to leave a club if it doesn’t match their trophy ambitions].

I remember Wayne Rooney said that about Man United and he got a new contract. That’s a modern phenomenon. Rooney was the first when he came out and said that about the club’s ambition matching his own, and Fergie wasn’t particularly happy, but he had to give him a new contract.

But fans accept that now, which I don’t like, because fans should understand that your club is the most important thing, and for players aren’t going to be committed unless you’re winning, then you shouldn’t be at the club.

What he [Harry Kane] should say is ‘I’m going to I’m going to be the player to stay at Tottenham and help them to win things’. As Bill Shankly said, ‘If you can’t play for us when we lose, don’t play for us when we’re winning’, and if you’re a player, you’re part of the reason you’re not winning. So, if you think you’re better than your team-mates, and you’re blaming your team-mates for not winning, rather than looking at yourself, then that’s a big problem for football club. So, that is not a good thing to say.’

2020 04 27 Retrieve

[John Barnes hopeful Liverpool will become Premier League champions] People are losing their lives, their jobs and their homes right now, so I don’t care how long it takes before football returns.

My eldest son, Jamie, was doing his fellowship as a consultant plastic surgeon at St Thomas’ Hospital in London and was there for nine months. But he’s had to stop because of the coronavirus and is now working at a hospital back home on Merseyside. His third son is six weeks old, but he has not been able to hold him yet because he is social distancing from his wife and kids after working at St Thomas’. My daughter Jemma, also a doctor, was on holiday in New Zealand but she had to cut that short and is now working at a hospital in Lancashire.

You worry about your kids, especially at a time like this. I feel very strongly that we have to be part of a society where, when everyone else can get on with their lives, football can do the same. We cannot be above that.

[Tomorrow will mark exactly three decades since Barnes scored the winner in a 2-1 home victory over QPR to seal Liverpool’s tenth title in 15 seasons and 18th overall] Of course we went out that night to celebrate, but back then we were out most nights anyway! Yes, we had won the title and enjoyed it, but as a club we had won it before so many times and the Liverpool way meant we soon focused on doing it again the following season. I suppose if we had known then that 1990 was going to be the last time that Liverpool would win it for thirty years, we would have savoured it a bit more

[Jurgen Klopp’s side were firmly on track to end that torturous wait for a maiden Premier League title before the outbreak of the coronavirus] I don’t see why, when we are able to play football again, the season can’t be finished. I want the integrity of football to be upheld and it’s nothing with Liverpool being crowned champions, although of course, I’d love to that happen.

Whoever finishes first should win the league, the bottom three should be relegated and the top three in the Championship should come up. There is no point thinking about next season when this season is unfinished, but like I say there are more important things than football right now.

[Barnes was already an established England international when he signed from Watford in the summer of 1987] That first year was fantastic, but in 1990 I was the top scorer in the country. Could I have played in the current Liverpool side? I think any great player can fit into any era. I could have played as one of their front three because Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are not necessarily wingers but players who cut infield and score lots of goals. It would be nice to be playing now, although it was nice to be playing back then

[Liverpool, of course, faded as a force when Dalglish quit in 1991 and Graeme Souness arrived before the advent of the Premier League] If you make changes then you have to be successful straight away. If not, then you’re going to have a lot of resistance and animosity towards you. I felt sorry for Graeme in that respect but I think he just changed too much too soon. With the nature of football nowadays, I can’t see one team dominating for 10 years like Liverpool and United did.

[Barnes is not adverse to returning to management after short-lived spells at Celtic and Tranmere but accepts it is unlikely] I would still like to manage because I’m a football person. But I’m not holding my breath

2020 05 04 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Liverpool need another forward but Mbappe may not be the right fit] They’ll need to sign another forward at some point in case one of the front three leaves but it will have to fit what Klopp wants. Kylian Mbappe is fantastic on the ball but would he do the other stuff? I’d suggest if you’re a 21-year-old superstar, your attitude isn’t going to change

I think he is the most important forward in what he gives the team. He gives Liverpool invention in tight areas

Klopp signs players to fit his system, not only because they looked great at their previous clubs. Ninety-nine per cent of people wouldn’t pick Henderson and Wijnaldum above Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva or even Jack Grealish or James Maddison, but they work for Liverpool. Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri came in for the Barcelona semi-final, their attitude was great and they were physically ready. It shows they were training well, waiting for their chance. Jurgen creates that environment. One of the bravest things was letting Philippe Coutinho go and not directly replacing him. Liverpool trusted him.

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Mbappe awarded Ligue 1 golden boot after season ended early] They’ll need to sign another forward at some point in case one of the front three leaves but it will have to fit what Klopp wants. Kylian Mbappe is fantastic on the ball but would he do the other stuff? I’d suggest if you’re a 21-year-old superstar, your attitude isn’t going to change

2020 05 11 Retrieve

[Former Magpies player John Barnes says Newcastle United should not expect to sign the best players in the world as soon as their long-anticipated takeover by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund goes through] Marquee signings for Newcastle are not marquee signings. Ronaldo is not going there, Messi is not going there, Mbappe is not going there. If they are sold, I still don’t think that the best players in the world are going to go to Newcastle. They’re not marquee signings, they’re players that Newcastle probably couldn’t have got before the Saudi Arabians take over. Everyone wants to try and get better players. Better players don’t mean marquee signings, it’s just better players than what they have. They’ll spend more money, attract more players in terms of the salaries they’re going to pay, that’s the same as any club

I don’t like the idea of playing in neutral stadiums, I don’t see the point of playing in neutral stadiums. The whole situation is that we have to get back playing when it’s safe. Why do we have to play in neutral stadiums? You’ve got your home fixtures and your away fixtures. If you’re talking about no promotion or no relegation it’s ridiculous, you shouldn’t be doing it unless everybody buys into the fact that you want to play in neutral stadiums but you’re still going to get relegated, but people want more to suit. I don’t see why you can’t play the season out with the home matches you have left and the away matches you have left. If they want to do it in empty stadiums, do it in empty stadiums. I don’t see the point of neutral stadiums

2020 05 11b Retrieve

[John Barnes says Liverpool are not looking for Timo Werner to replace anyone at Anfield] He’s not going to replace anyone. He’s coming to be part of the squad, I don’t think Klopp’s going to drop any of the front three for him. Of course, I don’t know if that is what may necessarily happen. If Salah, Mane or Firmino goes, we don’t know, so I don’t think he’s coming in to replace anyone, he’s coming to be part of a squad

Every player, regardless of who you are, can go at any moment. I don’t think they’re preparing for any of the front three to leave. If you can get a player of Werner’s quality to come in and one of the front three doesn’t leave, it’s fine, they have a stronger squad. I don’t think they’re going to lose any of the front three, but in modern football, you can never tell. If you get a chance to get a player who can fit into what you want, you should do it. I don’t think he’s going to cost hundreds of millions or his salary will be that high and it won’t be the case where he has to play every single game because he’s going to cost £100m and he’s being paid £300k a week. This is also what he’s [Klopp] looking for, players that will come and be happy to be there and not demand to play every week, they’re not superstars like a [Cristiano] Ronaldo or a [Lionel] Messi

2020 05 12 Retrieve

[John Barnes admits Liverpool do not have to scrape the barrel anymore when it comes to transfer targets] When you’re a top club, European champions and about to win the league, why would you want to go to Chelsea or Manchester United over Liverpool? Manchester United were in that position a few years ago where players would rather go to Manchester United than Liverpool. Chelsea were in that position when Mourinho was there. Liverpool is in a healthy position so they don’t have to scrape the barrel anymore or try and get a move on because other clubs are interested - they are now a club that everyone wants to play for

They want players that want to play for Liverpool. I’m sure a lot of people were after [Virgil] van Dijk, but he wanted to come to Liverpool. If they don’t get a move on and Manchester City, Arsenal or Chelsea come in for him and he decides to go there, that’s not the sort of player you want anyway. Because he’ll just go where they’re going to pay him more money or he wasn’t that committed to wanting to come to play for Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool

2020 05 13 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool star John Barnes says that his former club should not be awarded the Premier League title unless the season is capped off with promotion and relegation] Not if people aren’t going to be promoted and relegated, no.

Obviously you’re talking about big money, lots of money, but that’s to play matches. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about when players can start to train safely, socially distancing. We can do that immediately. The different question is when we can start to play again and, for me, you should take your time. No matter how long that takes. Either we say we’re never going to play again ever or we’re able to play, whether that’s a year, two years, whatever we decide, why can’t we then finish the nine games and then start the next season straight away? The players will have had three, four months, five months, six months off. There’s no need to have more time off, go straight into the next season with the teams that should be relegated and the teams that should be promoted.

Football, school, life isn’t like Christmas. Christmas has to be December 25. New Years Day has to be January 1. School doesn’t have to be, football doesn’t have to be August until May. You can actually adjust, particularly at time like this where we have to, and it’s not making sacrifices, it’s just changing the time table. It’s what we have to do

2020 05 16 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Man Utd like Liverpool of old & can’t sign who they want] With United, it is not about the number of players that they need to purchase, it is more about the quality of the players that they can bring in. For example, 10 years ago, Liverpool signed a load of players, but none of them made the Liverpool side any stronger, and they weren’t good purchases for the long-term future of the club. Clubs will now resist the urge to just make signings just because they want to make signings, as in the long run, they won’t improve the team. At the current stage that United are in, they aren’t in the position to make the quality of signings they want, because those players won’t want to go there. They need to focus more on the players that they currently have and work on improving them. They have some good players, with the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, but they need to make sure the harmony within the club and the team are right. I can say that United need to sign four world-class players, but they won’t get that, not with the club in its current position. They need the harmony to align within the team which it hasn’t yet, this is what happened at Liverpool

2020 05 22 Retrieve

[Liverpool urged to look at Soyuncu, Llorente & Haaland as Barnes picks out top transfer targets] Soyuncu would fit in well at any club. He’s taken the role of centre-back at Leicester by the scruff of the neck and he’s really improved and given something extra as well as he’s good on the ball. If Leicester did want to sell, Soyuncu could go to any of the top clubs

Liverpool’s recruitment is very specific, they’ll be looking at years down the line and Llorente is only 26. Having someone like Llorente come in and give a solidness as well as the experience is great

I’m going to patriotic and say that Sancho would be great, being an England player and an entertaining player as well. I would say someone like that would be great to get on the wing and terrorise defences

[Barnes feels Haaland would be a fearsome addition to that unit] He’s unbelievable and for such a young lad who is taking everything by storm, he’s taking everything in his stride. He’s one of those players who doesn’t worry or think too much and he just does what needs to be done. If he played alongside Salah and Mane playing on the wing with Firmino as another option, he would be outstanding. He will only grow bigger, confidence-wise, he’ll only get wiser with the way that he plays and he’ll only get cuter with the way that he finishes. The sky is the limit, so it’s up to him to keep that momentum going, because it’s not easy to keep it going

2020 05 30 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Liverpool followed Ferguson & Mourinho recipe for success] This has always been the recipe for success. Sir Alex Ferguson was given time by Manchester United, he had the complete support and trust of the board, which is why he was able to build such a great side. Chelsea did the same with Jose Mourinho in his first spell and were richly rewarded with trophies. Clubs will be successful if they give their manager the right resources and a sufficient amount of time to build a team. The most important thing is that the players should know that the manager is the man in charge. Player power is now a big issue all over the world, where players are seen as more important than the managers. The clubs in which the players have been calling the shots have been inconsistent. A manager’s role is undermined when the players are made to seem more important. It comes as no surprise to me that Liverpool and Manchester city have been the two most successful clubs in England over the last two years, because the manager in both those clubs is truly the man in charge, the power doesn’t lie with the owners or the players.

I think it’s not just about this season, the team cannot take their foot off the gas and rest on their laurels if they do manage to win the Premier League. A true marker of success is being able to win trophies for a sustained period of time. The team will enjoy the triumph, but then the focus should shift to the next season. Jurgen Klopp will hopefully drive the players to maintain such levels of performance in the years to come. I hope this is the start of another great era in the history of the club when the Reds can challenge for the domestic league title and Champions League title every season, as they did in the past. The league triumph will no doubt be fantastic for the club, but the success must not stop there

2020 05 30b Retrieve

[John Barnes says Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane could be lured away from Liverpool by big-money offers from afar] Every club is a selling club in modern football. A club like Barcelona was forced to sell Neymar. What attracts footballers today is the salaries that they are going to get. Whoever the player may be, whether it be Sadio Mane or Mo Salah, if anyone is offered a million pounds per week by any club, then they will join that team regardless of their quality or standing, that is the reality of modern football. We have had so many fantastic players leave the Liverpool - Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho. It is great that Liverpool have a bit of muscle now because of the on-field success, but ultimately players come and players go. I always tell the fans to support the club and not the players. A player must not be compelled to stay at a club against his own will, because that will make the player feel more powerful than the club and hence it will make him less accountable for his performances on the pitch. The good thing is that I can guarantee that such a situation will not arise under Klopp because of the control he has over the players and the club. Players know they cannot overstep their mark with him in charge

2020 06 01 Retrieve

[The myth of Maradona: Was ‘Hand of God’ goal integral to Diego’s legacy?] In our era, footballers didn’t get the support they needed. So, you had lots of players like Maradona back then who were considered a bit crazy. Now, though, I think that with the support and discipline inherent in the modern game, you don’t get players like that anymore. We all saw it. All of us on the bench – the players, the coaches, the manager – we all saw it clear as day. We all knew he’d handled the ball, so we just couldn’t believe the referee hadn’t seen it.

[Barnes maintains that Maradona’s second goal was in no way influenced by his first] We were all international footballers, we’d all been playing professional football for a long time, so we’d seen many injustices in league games where goals shouldn’t have been allowed for blatant offsides, fouls or whatever. So, for professional footballers to claim that they were stunned by the handball shocked me. To say that it had anything to do with the second goal is rubbish. I don’t believe that it affected us in that way at all. Yes, there was a feeling of injustice. But it didn’t affect the way we performed

[Barnes, though, holds no ill will towards Maradona] I don’t blame Maradona. I blame the referee and the officials for not seeing it. I don’t have anything against Maradona. He was the best player in the world. And I was just watching everything he did. Of course, I was following the game and cheering us on. But I even watched him warm up. Watching the best player in the world – possibly the best ever – going through his repertoire was a thrill. And, you know, his second goal wasn’t bad, was it? He ran half the length of the pitch! So, that was something to see. Also, it’s not as if we’ve not seen other players handle the ball. We’ve all seen the likes of Michael Owen and Paul Scholes try to get goals that way. They just didn’t get away with it because they weren’t as clever as Maradona. And that quarter-final was all about Maradona.

2020 06 02 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Man Utd players living on past glories as Liverpool once did] I see a huge similarity between Manchester United and Liverpool, huge similarity and I’ll tell you in what way. In the way when I first went to Liverpool, they were a successful team before I was there and the demands to win and the pressure to win was the most important thing, regardless of whether they had superstars like Ian Rush, Kenny Dalglish and they had won everything. The demand to win everything was there. Then, all of a sudden, Manchester United came along in the early nineties and things had changed.

If you look at the way the players were after say 1992-93, Liverpool still was a huge club, and it seemed that the players there were happy to be at Liverpool without necessarily recognising the responsibility to win. So when we were finishing third in the league, fourth in the league, we were still Liverpool players, bigger than 99 per cent of the teams, even if they finished above us, Arsenal whoever, but we were the Liverpool players without the demands to win. So we still got that kudos, that feeling that we are great, that we are better than everyone else because we are Liverpool players.

Now with Manchester United, when Ryan [Giggs] was there and he came through and they started to win all the Premier League trophies, regardless of whether they won the Premier League the year before, they had that demand that they put on themselves to win. Then I think after that Man City took over, Manchester United still were the biggest club, and the players were happy to be with Manchester United without recognising the responsibility of having to win. Because if they finished third and Tottenham finished above they were still bigger than Tottenham players because they played for Manchester United, and that happened at Liverpool

2020 06 04 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Liverpool do not have another Raheem Sterling, Robbie Fowler or Steven Gerrard coming through] I don’t think there are any young players ready to play in the first team. Liverpool will be quiet in the transfer market. But they’ll rely on the senior players that they have. There are a few young players who we see playing in the cup matches and, in the squads. But there aren’t necessarily any Raheem Sterlings, or young Robbie Fowlers or Steven Gerrards

[Merseyside native Jones is considered by many to be the pick of those looking to catch Klopp’s eye] I don’t want to put them under pressure. So, while I expect Liverpool to be quiet in the transfer market – you’ve got the young boy, Curtis Jones, who obviously has made an impression in the first team every now and again. In terms of him forcing his way into the team ahead of the more senior players, I don’t think that that’s necessarily going to happen.

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[John Barnes says If Klopp wanted Werner, he’d have got him] We’ve seen over the last couple of years that we trust Jurgen Klopp. If Jurgen Klopp wanted him, he would have got him, he would have demanded that they paid the money if he felt it was worth it. If he doesn’t feel it’s worth it, whether it is money or whatever reason, then we don’t get him. So, I think that had Liverpool wanted him, he would have gone to Liverpool rather than Chelsea. I’m not saying that he’s not a good player, but Jurgen Klopp has taken a decision that he didn’t want him that badly in terms of the money that they were going to spend and we trust him. We’re not going to feel that we’ve lost out to Chelsea - we would not have lost out to Chelsea had Jurgen Klopp wanted him badly enough

If the chasing pack catch Liverpool, how can Liverpool improve? They’ve lost one game, they just have to keep doing what they’re doing. If the pack catches them up, that means that the pack is improving, Liverpool cannot improve, so what can Liverpool do? They’ve lost one game all season, so next year what can they do to improve? It’s up to the others to improve, that’s what they will do, but Liverpool do not need to improve to get any better. What they can do is maintain the consistency and I feel that with what we have, we can maintain the consistency. If other teams get better, Liverpool can’t do anything about that, it’s all about taking care of themselves

2020 06 08 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Celtic may be able to keep Arsenal target Odsonne Edouard amid Covid-19 crisis] Celtic is a fantastic club. We know that money plays a big part in this, but we don’t know what is happening this summer because after Covid-19, I don’t think you’re necessarily going to see £100m and £50m signings. It’s up to the player to decide if he wants to stay in Scotland or not. If he is happy there and he’s in the Champions League and happy with his football then yes they may be able to keep him, but if he wants to go and play in a bigger league with more exposure then it is hard for any Scottish team to keep their better players

Celtic have no more frustration than if you’re a top club in any league where you can’t compete financially with England, Italy, Spain, France and Germany. Celtic are slightly different in that they are as big as some clubs in England or the world, but the financial implications of football in Scotland means they can’t always keep these players and I suspect it will be a frustration. They’ll be understanding that they’re no different to other clubs that lose players, look at Belgium, one of the best teams in the world but you don’t see any players playing in Belgium. This has always been a factor of Scottish football, except maybe in the 70s and 80s because from a financial point of view they were able to compete, but now the financial differences between Scotland and England and the rest of the European nations means it is hard for the Scottish teams to compete in keeping their best players

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[John Barnes says Steven Gerrard has been warned that he will not come into contention for the manager’s role at Liverpool any time soon] I’m sure Steven would see himself managing a club in England, as that is most likely a more attractive proposition than Rangers possib. However, it may not be a Premier League club but a Championship club - and would that be as attractive as Rangers? I don’t know is the answer. Steven is the only one who can decide that. So I think he will stay where he is for the time being, but never say never

Steven has shown that he is a good manager and I believe he is where he should be. You shouldn’t expect Rangers to be insulted because they are not as good as Celtic. It has nothing to do with issues of managing Rangers. But at the end of the day Celtic are superior, which may be down to the financial differences of the two clubs and the strength of their players, and just now Rangers are behind, despite Steven being a good manager

2020 06 18 Retrieve

[John Barnes says he hated Merseyside derbies] I hated Merseyside derbies. Didn’t like them one bit! Yes, but those games weren’t for people who like to play good football! Those games are for people like Graeme Souness and Peter Reid and Steve McMahon, who like to tackle and kick each other! Me, I couldn’t wait to get them out of the way

[The most powerful memory, though, came in an FA Cup tie at Goodison in February 1988, where he was photographed back-heeling a banana which had been thrown onto the field from the terraces] I don’t remember doing it! It became an iconic image, of course, but I have to say at the time it wasn’t a big deal to me, I don’t even recall doing it. You have to remember that it wasn’t the first time it had happened to me. I’d made my debut for Watford in 1981, and at that time bananas were coming onto the field every week. But, obviously, because it was Liverpool and Everton, the two best teams around, it was perhaps highlighted more. It is an iconic picture. I can see that now, but my memory of it happening, I don’t have one!

[Liverpool won the league in Barnes’ first season] I lost my first derby 1-0 at Anfield, and I was at fault for the goal. Gary Stevens got a run on me and came inside to score with a bit of a spawny left-foot shot at the Kop end. Then, later in the season, we went to Goodison, and if we’d won or drawn, we’d have beaten the record for the longest unbeaten start to a [top-flight] season. We lost 1-0 and, as you can imagine, that was a big disappointment, and a huge delight for the Evertonians!

[The events of April 15, 1989, when 96 fans lost their lives at Hillsborough, scarred the city – Red and Blue] It wasn’t just a Liverpool Football Club tragedy. It was a tragedy for Liverpool as a city. Evertonians lost loved ones at Hillsborough. They lost brothers and sisters and uncles and cousins and friends. And when it mattered, when it really mattered, the city came together, like it always does. Everton were fantastic.

[Liverpool’s first competitive game, post-Hillsborough, was a goalless draw at Goodison Park] It was the only time I felt sorry for Everton. Because all the neutrals wanted Liverpool to win. Usually, they’d have wanted the underdog to win. It was fitting and appropriate that it was a Liverpool-Everton cup final, and it was a hugely emotional day. Some would say it was fitting that Liverpool won, but Everton would have been equally deserving winners

I was as shocked as anyone when Kenny left. We played Everton on the Wednesday, a ridiculous game which of course we should have won, and we were then playing Luton that Saturday. Luton had a plastic pitch in those days, so you would go down the day before and train there to get used to it. At the time, I still had a house near Watford, so straight after the Everton game I asked Kenny if I could go down south and then meet up with the team at Luton on the Friday. He said no problem. When I arrived on the Friday, all the press were there. They all asked me ‘What do you think of the news?’ I had no idea! It was the biggest bombshell imaginable. I never had a clue. Obviously, the lads arrived on the coach a while after, and they said he’d come in and told them he was leaving, out of the blue. Maybe Alan Hansen and some of his closer friends had an idea but, for us, he never showed any signs at all. It was a huge shock, and a big setback for the club.

[2020 – Klopp’s Kings] It will suit certain players better than others. People talk about the atmosphere, and the effect it has on players, but it works the other way too. Some players will find it easier without fans there. I was never affected by crowds. Whether there were 2,000 there or 100,000, whether they were booing me or cheering me, it was always about the game for me, even in a derby. I know what Jurgen Klopp is like, and I know what this Liverpool team is like. They train and play with the same intensity, whether there’s 50,000 fans there or nobody, whether it’s Everton away or Swindon at home. They have that determination, every single day, so the fact that there are no fans there won’t change their attitude of mentality whatsoever. That’s not to say they’ll definitely win the game. There’s no form to go off, of course, and we don’t know where everyone is in terms of fitness, but fingers crossed! My brother-in-law is the biggest Evertonian you could meet, and he’s around my house every day talking about Liverpool. Donald Trump can be on the television, and it’ll somehow come back to Liverpool. Hopefully, he’s not talking much on Sunday!

2020 06 22 Retrieve

[Reds legend John Barnes says Liverpool passed up the opportunity to move for Timo Werner because Jurgen Klopp does not like to have lots of superstars in the team] Well once again you’re talking about the harmony within the team. You’re talking about a world-class player who demands to play every week and if he’s not going to play every week, is that going to upset the spirit in the camp? I don’t know if Timo Werner was given assurances or he feels he can play for Chelsea every week rather than coming here, but you’ve got to be careful and I know Jurgen doesn’t like to have a big squad and lots of superstars in the team. Keeping them happy can be quite problematic and we’ve seen every now and again, like the Barcelona game when they didn’t have [Roberto] Firmino or Salah and [Divock] Origi can come in and did the job

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Liverpool have no need to bring in big signings during the next transfer window] If Liverpool were to make big signings but then suddenly, those signings cannot play, and they cannot get into the team because of Salah and [Roberto] Firmino, it damages the harmony of the club. How does that big signing feel when he’s always on the bench? I don’t think they need to do it at all. And I don’t feel this was the reason Manchester City didn’t win the title this season

Pep [Guardiola] and Klopp, the two most successful managers in world football, both feel like they don’t have to make big signings to compete. So, who are we to question that? They are successful every year.

If you have players you can put in the squad like [Takumi] Minamino and [Divock] Origi, Liverpool still have a large squad with people that can make an impact from the bench. It is not an issue to go and sign someone. I don’t see why there is a necessity to sign big. They are 23 points better off than everybody else […] Lallana is on his way so maybe they will replace him, but I can’t see Liverpool making big signings. If they do there is pressure on their reaction, and the harmony they bring to the team.

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Liverpool will not be breaking the bank for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, claims John Barnes, with the Reds not in the market for ‘a Neymar or Lionel Messi’ which requires them to spend big] Koulibaly is a very good player and you’re looking at Joe Gomez coming through and he could help him, Koulibaly is already the finished article so if they get him that would be a good signing for them. If they don’t get him, well they’re still 25 points better than any other team, so as long as they don’t lose players. I don’t think there’s necessarily a reason to go out and make big-name signings. Yes, they’ve signed [Takumi] Minamino and they may be able to sign some players that aren’t going to go straight into the first team, but I don’t think they necessarily need that

If Manchester City offer Koulibaly twice the salary, then he’ll go to Manchester City. The whole idea that Liverpool are the champions and that means he’ll go to them, that’s not the case. Liverpool is an attractive proposition, as attractive as anybody else, whether they are more attractive than Barcelona or Manchester City I don’t think that’s necessarily true. What may happen is that his type of football may suit Liverpool. I don’t think he’s suited to the type of football that Manchester City play. Liverpool are always looking to improve on players and you’re always going to be linked with players if you’re a big club and it’s a good time to buy when you’re at the top. I don’t think there’ll be many signings coming to Liverpool. If there’s a signing that they feel will improve them they’ll do that, but that’s no different to any other club. Liverpool won’t break the bank to sign anybody, the type of player Liverpool want isn’t going to be a Neymar or Messi who you may have to break the bank for, so they will able to get the players they want but they won’t have to break the bank for them.