|Org||England National Team|
|Club as Player||Liverpool|
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 05 31 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Critics of Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino over lack of silverware branded ‘stupid people’] Well, they are being criticised by stupid people because why should Tottenham win the league? When it comes to silverware, you can’t ask a manager to win an FA Cup when you don’t know who you’re going to play. Let’s say with Pochettino, to win the FA Cup, in the third round he plays Manchester City away, do you expect him to win that? No, but he can win it. And then in the fourth round he plays Liverpool away and then in the fifth round he plays Chelsea away. What are the chances of winning all of those matches? So to then say ‘we should win silverware’ - it’s ridiculous. The only team you know you’re going to play is in the Premier League and then should they win the league because they’re Tottenham? No. Winning silverware, it’s nice and okay, but doing well and getting as far as you can in the league is the most important thing because it shows you the consistency you have, the team that you actually are.
Who would have expected Tottenham to get to a Champions League final? Would you then say Tottenham have finished fourth and are in a Champions League final, Pochettino has now failed? Which manager could come to Tottenham and make Tottenham win the Premier League and the Champions League? There’s no manager alive at the moment who you’d expect to do that with Tottenham. So, why then say Pochettino has failed? It’s the same with Klopp. Liverpool shouldn’t finish second in the league, they should be fourth.
They shouldn’t beat Barcelona 4-0 to get to the final, but they did. Maybe if you’re at Man City, you can be criticised for not winning anything or even Manchester United because they have a bigger squad and have spent more money. But to then say Klopp or Pochettino have failed because they have not won silverware - that’s ridiculous
2019 06 01 Retrieve
[Liverpool legend John Barnes says he had to sleep outside of a train station in Barcelona with homeless people on his journey to Madrid for the Champions League final] I was with my family in Santorini, I had to be here at 8:30am on Thursday morning. My flight from Santorini got cancelled, so I then had to fly from Santorini to Athens, from Athens to Barcelona. Got to Barcelona 2am in the morning, my train, I had to get a train to Madrid, it was not until 5am, the train station is not open till 4am, from 2am until 4am I was lying on the floor outside the train station with a lot of homeless people before the train station opened. That’s how committed I was to getting here.
[Barnes says he was determined to get through his arduous journey to see Jurgen Klopp’s team in action] I am not going to mention any names, about other divas who played for Liverpool, my former teammates who would have wanted to be in a five star hotel. I slept on the floor of the train station for three hours, that is how much of a fan I am. I am not going to say who wouldn’t have done it… Ian Rush… But apart from that, that is my commitment to the cause
2019 06 03 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk deserves to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi] Very possibly. Normally when you look at the Ballon d’Or winners, they’re either attacking midfield players or centre-forwards. They are goalscorers and eye-catching players. But there haven’t been any of those types of players who have really set the world alight this season. So from a point of consistency and from a point of success, for me, Van Dijk would have to be the man
2019 06 20 Retrieve
[John Barnes believes the World Cup winner Nabil Fekir is a luxury that the Reds do not need] Yes, he’d be a good addition to the squad. But, it’s going to be difficult to get into the front three. If you look at the way Xherdan Shaqiri played, he could feature as one of the midfield three as well. It’s always good to have quality to help the squad. But it’s pure speculation until it happens. I don’t necessarily feel that Liverpool are desperate to sign anybody because of the squad they have and with two new players coming back in terms of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, who didn’t feature last year. We’ve still got Adam Lallana. It could be good for the squad but I don’t think we’re desperate to sign anybody
2019 06 20b Retrieve
[John Barnes says Dejan Lovren leaving Liverpool comfort zone would be understandable] With Joe Gomez coming back, if Lovren feels that he’s not going to be playing anymore and he wants to play first-team football, fine. I quite like him at Liverpool because, of course, if players get injured, he can step in and do a good job. But players sometimes think to themselves that they want to play first-team football so therefore if he leaves, I’ll have every respect for him, rather than him just staying at Liverpool in the comfort zone. Maybe it is time for him to move on if that’s what he decides.
2019 06 28 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool have no need to go and sign a player for £100 million this summer] actually feel the opposite. I’m looking for something exciting but not necessarily anything new. Last season we needed players like Virgil van Dijk and Alisson to come into the team to be the main pieces in the squad and maximise the potential we had. This year, I don’t think there are any players who will be coming in to take the place of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, or Virgil Van Dijk, so instead what we need to do is supplement the squad. I don’t think we’re going to go out and get a player for £100m to go straight into the team, but we don’t need that
But there are players out there who can improve the next nine or 10 players after that, which is a relatively easier thing to do. Our current rivals, even City included, currently need a few players to improve the first XI and there aren’t that many players out there like that. We don’t need that and we’re just looking for players to improve the squad
2019 08 08 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Jurgen Klopp does not need to sign a replacement for the recently-departed Daniel Sturridge] Daniel Sturridge didn’t play much last year and we finished second in the league and won the Champions League. So, do we need to replace him? We have Origi, who did well when he came on. He’s not the top scorer and first player on the team sheet so doesn’t need replacing. Had we lost Salah, Mane or Firmino and not replaced them, then you could say that it is an issue. He was a good player for Liverpool but I think he lost his way in the last couple of years, with his fitness as well. He has to find a home and get motivated for his own career and play. It’s a shame but we haven’t seen a fit Daniel Sturridge for a few years
[When asked where Sturridge could end up plying his trade next] Sturridge has to get fit and motivated, no matter what club he goes to. He could go to Real Madrid or Birmingham City, but he won’t play if he’s not fit and motivated. I don’t think it’s a club that is important, it’s how hungry he is and if he can get motivated. If Sturridge can earn money in the MLS and it’s a competitive league, and if he feels he can’t get a club here for whatever reason, then it’s a good move. The players there are fit and strong and competitive. It’s the same all over the world
[Barnes felt Salah and Firmino led from the front admirably as the Reds showed the same intensity which served them so well last term] It just didn’t happen for Salah on Sunday. I don’t look at individual players, I look at how well the team is playing and the whole team, particularly in the second half, played really well. Before that game, the first team hadn’t been together. There was no Mane, Salah, Firmino whereas they just left off, for me, in terms of performance and energy, and as well as how they pressed high up the field, from where they were last season
2019 08 08b 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
2019 08 09 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Virgil van Dijk needs to spend another 10 years at Liverpool before he can be considered a Premier League great] If he gets transferred to Real Madrid next year, he’s not been here long enough to be a Premier League great. Don’t look down the line and say in 10 years I want to be a considered a great, he has to go through the process of being here for that period of time. Too many people say they want to be a legend, but you can only be that at the end of your career when looking back. You can’t look forward and want to be a legend, you look back and think ‘I was a legend’. I’m sure he doesn’t, but I’m talking about what people are talking about
[Barnes also insists that Van Dijk must prove himself all over again in the upcoming season] Van Dijk had a fantastic season but it means nothing now. If he has a terrible season now, what is he? I’m sure he will be fine but he just needs to carry on and be consistent. He doesn’t need to improve on anything, just consistency as he’s not been around long enough to judge that consistency. How he can improve is to do the same again - because he has then improved his consistency, that’s the key to everything. He brings stability, he is calm, which helps the crowd and now he has to continue to perform
[Barnes feels Joe Gomez is the best choice to partner Van Dijk long-term] I think long-term Joe Gomez will be van Dijk’s partner. I think that’s a good partnership but he does have a lot to learn. If you look at the centre back partners, we’ve got Joel Matip, we’ve got Dejan Lovren and we’ve got him (Gomez) alongside Van Dijk. Anybody can do a good job and if not, whoever comes in for him can do a good job
2019 08 16 Retrieve
[club legend John Barnes says Liverpool resisted the urge to spend over the summer because there is nobody out there who can come into the first team] I don’t think there is anyone out there who can come into the first team. You could say you could get someone to supplement the squad. Just look at Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and even Tottenham, they needed signings to go into the first XI but we don’t. There is no one out there who is going to take the spots of the front three or the midfield three or the back four. Of course with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez coming back in, who didn’t play last year, they are like two new signings. So I don’t think Liverpool needed to make signings this summer
Liverpool can go one better but so can City and all teams. City are still favourites. But I don’t expect Liverpool just to lose one game this season and get the same points and I don’t expect City to get the same points as last time. If you look at United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea, they will be more consistent this year. I expect them [City and Liverpool] to be first and second but I don’t think they will run away with it as they did last season.
2019 09 04 Retrieve
[John Barnes has suggested Jadon Sancho should give up football if he is falling out of the love with the game following various incidents of racist abuse in football over the past few weeks] You love football because of the game, not because of some idiot who is going to shout at your from across the street. If Jadon is going to fall out of love with football, let him give up football and let him go into the real world as a young black man without an education and without being able to play football, then he’ll see what it’s really like to be a black person who is racially abused. As much as footballers want to talk about how terrible it is for them, look at what’s happening in the black community of kids without an education and who haven’t got jobs. If he thinks that’s bad [the abuse of footballers], let him go into the real world and see what real discrimination is about
[He believes the strength of the message from high-profile players could have a lasting effect on helping highlight issues within the community] We’re now coming full circle, we’re trying to get something to change so lets get these black superstar footballers to tell us what we should do and tell us how terrible it is for them. What they should do is use their voice to talk about discrimination where it really hurts people in the inner cities with kids who can’t get jobs or opportunities. He’s signed a nice new contract, is he willing to give that contract up because he’s falling out of love with football? I don’t think he is. Let’s not get it blown out of proportion
2019 10 18 Retrieve
[John Barnes warns Man Utd that Liverpool will ‘destroy them’ if they try to go toe-to-toe with Klopp’s title chasers] If Manchester United now under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are going back to trying to play an exciting, open game, I think Liverpool will destroy them. If you go toe-to-toe with Liverpool and try and play an open game… even Manchester City adapt their game to play against Liverpool! If Manchester United come and say, ‘We’re the home team, let’s play an open game’, I think Liverpool will beat them comfortably.
A counter-attacking team is what Jose Mourinho would have - defend deep, allow them to have the ball. That is not what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done, it’s not what he has come to Manchester United to do, which is what Jose Mourinho was criticised for. So, it’s just a question as to whether Ole decides to be a bit more cautious, to defend more, and try and catch them on the counter, which is an away team performance
At the moment, Manchester United are not like Liverpool, who have a template in terms of the way they play, which any player coming in can hit the ground running and put in a good performance. Manchester United have relied on individuals to win their matches; I don’t think they’ve played well as a team in any of the games I’ve seen.
They’ve got individuals who can do something, so the better individuals you have, the more chance you have of winning. If Liverpool were missing two or three players, I wouldn’t worry about them. The style of Liverpool as a team, you know they’re going to play that way regardless of who plays. With Manchester United I think it depends on having those individual players. [Paul] Pogba, I think, will be a big loss for them. They’ll need their better individuals to cause Liverpool problems
2019 11 29 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool haven’t got better players than Manchester United or Arsenal or Tottenham] Liverpool haven’t got better players than Manchester United or Arsenal or Tottenham. What they have is more harmony, more belief, togetherness, and belief in the manager
Of course, I’ll be happy to win the league on 90 points this year, but I won’t say that this is a better season than last season, if we lose three games and win the league on 90 points. It’s an exciting time because we have now given Jurgen support. We trust him and we always have. When you have that harmony and togetherness, the fans, the Liverpool family or football family, generally speaking, you can succeed
2019 12 12 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool do not need to bring in any new signings in January] No one, what’s the point in Liverpool signing anyone? If they could get Messi that would be great, but we have a good squad. There’s no one who we could sign in to the first eleven to make us better, we have enough squad players but I’m very happy with the way it is
[When pressed on who has been Liverpool’s standout performer in recent months] Sadio Mane has been our most consistent player but as a whole, it’s been a real team effort. Look at Origi, came in against Everton and did what he did. Salah and Firmino, this is the best Liverpool team in terms of unity. Once we had Gerrard and Suarez, I feel then we had better players, but the current side perform better as a team. If I had to choose one stand out player, it would be Mane
[The Reds will be looking to extend their 33-game unbeaten run in the top-flight when they host Watford this weekend] Of course, it’s possible but I don’t expect them to, it’s so hard in the Premier League now. They’d have to go to Manchester City and not lose, Tottenham and not lose. It is a possibility, but I doubt it, it’s so difficult now in the Premier League
2019 12 13 Retrieve
[John Barnes believes Lionel Messi is the greatest, but Virgil van Dijk should have won Ballon d’Or] I love Messi, he is the greatest player in the world, probably ever and he’s had a fantastic season. Virgil should have won it, but you can’t argue with the stats for what Messi’s done and how great he’s been. Even this season, this year. Individual awards don’t mean anything to me and I don’t think Virgil will be too hard done by either. As long as Liverpool win, I don’t feel he will be that bothered by individual awards. Individual awards are for the fans and the media to talk about who the best player is. I thought Virgil should have won it, but it’s not much of an issue or problem at all because Messi is a great player as well
It’s important for Liverpool to win all their matches being in the Club World Cup or not. If they lose before the trip to Qatar, they could come back into it and really lose focus. Jurgen Klopp says to the players, regardless if it’s a Club World Cup or not, these are points to be won. They don’t need 12/15 - we need three points in this next game and that’s all that matters. This is the right attitude to have which is what he does so well. First five minutes we want to make sure we’re running, we’re tackling and we’re doing the right thing, this is how he drives the team to success so often, focusing on everything game by game
2019 12 23 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool are capable of competing for top honours over many years] In terms of what they have done so far, I can see them doing it again next year. But if Man City or Man United spend lots of money to improve, can we say that Liverpool are definitely going to win the league? No. You have to maintain your consistency. I don’t think this Liverpool team can actually get any better but they can be as consistent
Now a team can spend hundreds of millions whereas in the past that didn’t happen - it took time. Now a team can rapidly improve because of the spending power. I think it’s much harder to dominate, win the league and maintain your position at the very top than it was in my day
2020 01 03 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool emulating Invincibles is unrealistic] Until the league is won, going through the season unbeaten is not on anybody’s mind at Liverpool, it’s not on my mind. I don’t think it will be done. Of course it can be, because Liverpool are playing in a way where they are not losing matches. But we’ve still got to play Tottenham away, Manchester United at home, Manchester City away and on any given day these teams can beat us. So to expect us to go through the season unbeaten I think is unrealistic. Not that we can’t, I just don’t think we will
2020 01 05 Retrieve
[John Barnes thinks it’s still too early for Liverpool to be targeting the double] You can talk about a buffer in the league, that you can rest players in the league because you’re so far ahead - but then you end up losing league matches, and you can end up losing the league. Jurgen won’t do that. Liverpool should just try to win football matches. You can’t talk about winning the double - that happens at the end of the season.
If you’re thinking about winning the double, you forget to win the next game, and the next game, and the next game. Jurgen Klopp doesn’t look at trophies, he looks at games, and the best way to win a trophy is to win the next game. You can’t go for the double because in the cup, you don’t know who you’re going to play, and you can also play really well and lose. You can play your strongest team, hit the post 20 times, the opposition can have one chance and win 1-0. You can lose the odd game in the league, but to win it, you have to be the best team. The league is where you show consistency, and it’s always the most important thing
2020 01 14 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Firmino form no ‘mystery’ as Anfield goal drought is played down] The top six scorers in the Premier League are not from Liverpool but we’re 16 points clear. And long may it continue him not scoring any goals at home because Liverpool are [at this rate] going to win the league and not lose matches, and he’s a big important factor to the fact that [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah score goals.
He’s a real team player. He’s the most important player Liverpool have, him and [Virgil] van Dijk, from an attacking perspective and also working hard defensively. Mane and Salah are fantastic players who score goals but I think without Firmino they wouldn’t score half the goals they score
I don’t think he lacks confidence, it’s just one of those things where he’s been scoring goals away from home. He’s an important part of a consistent team, who’s winning every week and playing fantastic football, and Jurgen Klopp and his team-mates know how important he is, so I don’t see that as an issue
2020 02 15 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Liverpool had no need to ‘splash the cash for the sake of it’ in January] They bought Minamino fairly cheaply but I think Jurgen Klopp was right not to go out and splash the cash just for the sake of it. They outplayed Barcelona without [Mohamed] Salah or [Roberto] Firmino and instead played the likes of [Divock] Origi because Klopp has enough strength in depth in his existing squad. I’m not a fan of teams always feeling like they need to strengthen every January. People don’t seem to realise that you don’t need 24 superstar international players to compete and that’s where teams fall down. Klopp knows who his best 14-16 players are and there’s no need to spend extra money for the sake of it
I think they can go all season unbeaten, but I don’t think they will. I reckon they will lose one game but ultimately, they will still win the title comfortably. At the end of the day it’s not important for Liverpool to go unbeaten, it’s important to win the league. I can’t see them coming up short against Norwich this weekend, but they will be beaten before the end of the season and that’s fine. It doesn’t matter how well your team is doing because it’s the kind of league where anything can happen and a shock result could come against anybody, top or bottom half. I can’t predict which games they will lose, but I do think they will be beaten this season
2020 03 05 Retrieve
[Liverpool warned Atletico will be ‘more difficult’ to overcome than Barcelona] I think it’s different playing Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. You say Barcelona is a better team than Atletico, but not defensively. If they have to defend a lead and have 20 per cent possession and not concede that’s what Diego Simeone does. So, it was a huge shock to Barcelona, but I think it will be more difficult against Atletico
In the last 18 months, we can’t criticise them [Liverpool] in any shape or form. There’s a lot being made about they’ve lost three of the last four, I’d prefer to think we’ve lost three, four including one last season, in the last 70 or 80 matches. I don’t think it was ever going to continue, Liverpool have been playing to their maximum. They haven’t necessarily got better players than any other team in the top four or five. They have a good attitude, commitment, determination and harmony with the fans, which meant that they maximised their potential to do what they did
2020 03 11 Retrieve
[John Barnes says If Sancho’s happy to sit on Liverpool’s bench he should come!] If Jadon Sancho is willing to come to Liverpool and not play every week and sit on the bench, then absolutely he should come to Liverpool. But I always tell young players to be careful and play at a high level for four-five years before moving to a bigger club
Salah and Mane have been around for four or five seasons now and have shown their quality and experience, whereas Sancho has been around for 18 months and needs to show that consistency over a three-year period before he costs £100 million to a huge club. That doesn’t happen in modern football anymore, nowadays, if you are young and have just one good season, someone is going to spend £80 million-plus on you
I would advise Jadon Sancho to develop more and show that level of consistency before he is going to be put under a lot of pressure by being a £100 million player playing at one of the biggest clubs in the world
Timo Werner would be good competition for Mane or Salah. It is more of a question about keeping the current group of players rather than going to sign new players. In football, it is likely that a team could lose some of the players in the summer, you never know what is going to happen. Right now, I would be thinking about forgetting the plans for the summer and focus on winning the league this year and finish the season strong, and then worry about what is going to happen in the summer
Liverpool have not won the Premier League in over 30 years. Last year, beating Barcelona and winning the Champions League was a bonus. I would take winning the Premier League over the Champions League every single time. Winning the Premier League for Liverpool will be absolutely immense
2020 03 19 Retrieve
[John Barnes says Let Liverpool land title & write off future season] It’s a sensible decision and I think delaying for a year was the only solution. You have leagues to be finished and I think leagues have to be finished, not just from Liverpool’s point of view or any other club in any country. It’s obviously bigger than that, you are talking about promotion and relegation all the way down the divisions. So I think if the leagues can even be delayed - you don’t have to rush back to them - maybe you have to write off a season. We don’t know what’s going to happen on April 3 [when the EFL suspension is currently due to end] and maybe they are going to delay it further. Even if we have to start in July or August, what we have to do is finish these games even if it takes up until December, which writes off the [next] season. These are desperate times and this is an unusual circumstance
If you are going to give Liverpool the title, then who would get promoted and relegated? You can’t just give Liverpool the title because we are so far ahead. What would Leeds and West Brom say? What would Fulham say if they don’t come up and you promote those two? Do the bottom three in the Premier League not get relegated? Safety is the most important thing so allow this season to take as long as it does, there’s no need to rush back as you are delaying Euros to 2021. If you have to play one game a week from October, and mean the season goes on until next January or February, then you can kick-start the next season at the right time rather than play catch-up for years
2020 03 19b Retrieve
[Liverpool legend John Barnes says There is no summer transfer window anymore!] There is no summer transfer window anymore, it’s an end of season window. If the season is still going on in November or March then the window will have to be then, whenever it starts and ends. Players who are out of contract at the end of the season so they will have to be extended until the end of the season, not July as usual - the question is whether clubs down the leagues can pay their players for that long? This will only be for one year, I’m sure in a year or two it will go back to normal. But you cannot hold people to conventional timings for the next year
We have to get away from this idea that top-level footballers are going through a hard time. Footballers on the highest rungs haven’t got to worry about mortgages and bank balances. Compared to a self-employed painter and decorator, footballers are holding up just fine. But I see how players in the lower leagues will be worried about their mortgages. Football is not in a more unique position than anyone else in these troubled times. This is the precarious state of the world and all businesses.
From a footballing perspective, maybe everyone can come together under FIFA and UEFA and the Premier League to alleviate the problem football clubs have. But unfortunately other sectors do not have that safety net, they will just have governments to rely on.
I just hope the smaller clubs are still around in the next six months to a year to start again, because football will eventually kick-start - and we need every club to still be afloat when that happens as they are so important to people’s lives and wellbeing.
I worry for lower league clubs, it’s grave for them. The Government need to help out all smaller businesses of which football clubs are some. You cannot kick them out of the equation and say they are football’s problem and rely on the Premier League as they may have a lot of money. It is an issue for the whole nation.
But of course, the Premier League must also step forward and do their bit for the next little while to help other clubs in need
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[Barnes says players recognise the unlikelihood of fans being allowed into grounds any time soon] I think it’s more a case of there being no alternative. Players are realistic. In an ideal world, we would be playing in front of crowds. But we’re not in an ideal world and certainly, the players I’ve spoken to accept that if that is what it’s going to be, that’s what it will have to be
I’ve been speaking to players - including two or three very high-profile Premier League players more or less on a daily basis - and the conversations I had with them at the outset were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible. I said to them, ‘Look, none of us, in an ideal world, want to play in front of empty stadiums. Football is about fans.’ But the reality is that for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to. In order for us (the PFA) to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries … if that’s the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be.
To be fair, most players very much took that on board when we spoke to them. The players get it. They understand the alternative. Quite frankly, if we’re going to get the season finished in a timely fashion so that we can even consider starting next season, we’ve got to be open to all options. If it means playing behind closed doors has to happen in order that contracts are protected, fixtures fulfilled and commercial deals honoured, then I think we’ve all got to come together and accept we’ve all got to make sacrifices to try and find a solution for the industry as a whole
2020 04 07 Retrieve
[Former Liverpool winger John Barnes on Liverpool’s furlough U-turn] Obviously everybody at this time is looking to see what’s right for their business. I remember also when Liverpool put their ticket prices up and everyone was up in arms about that and then they changed their mind because they realized that this was not the right thing to do.
But in these unprecedented times, businesses are going to see what the best thing to do is and look at worst-case scenarios but the good thing about it is that they listen to the fans and look at what people think in that area. It’s quite a socialist city as you know, and they changed their minds.
These are quite unprecedented times as you know and it’s quick for everybody to judge when people are looking after their own and taking care of their businesses. I’m not going to judge Bournemouth or Newcastle or anybody else who feels that’s what they have to do. Liverpool have now decided, because of the fans outrage, that they’re not going to do it.
There are similar issues with players and taking wage cuts or whether they have to give to the NHS. All these issues are issues that you may or may not agree with, but in these unprecedented times, I don’t think anybody is necessarily trying to be greedy. They’re just looking at what they think is the right thing to do for their own business.
If Liverpool, think it’s the right decision for them, then it’s the right decision. Is the reversal for Bournemouth the right decision? I’m sure there are struggling businesses that could do more with the furloughing than Bournemouth.
My whole take on this is that if this is going to detract from other businesses that need it more than it’s not the right thing for Premier Leauge clubs to do it. But if it’s not going to take away from small businesses and it’s an opportunity for you to safeguard the future of your club, because we don’t really know what’s going to happen further down the line.
We all assume that football in three or four months time is going to come back and we’re going to make money again, but if that doesn’t happen, a club like Burnley for example, it may affect them.
We’re very quick to judge but the good thing with Liverpool, like I said with the ticket prices when the fans weren’t happy with that, they listened to the fans. The owners listen to their fans. A lot of owners don’t, so credit has to be given to Liverpool
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 18 Retrieve
[Does Kane think he’s better than Tottenham? England captain’s transfer hint disappoints Barnes] 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 if players aren’t going to be committed unless you’re winning, then you shouldn’t be at the club. What he [Kane] should say is ‘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.