Following a round of midweek League Cup fixtures which saw Arsenal triumph on penalties at Anfield against Liverpool, we’ve spoken to BonusCodeBets ambassador, John Barnes. The former England and Liverpool winger shared his thoughts on Dele Alli and how a move to PSG could reignite his career, Arsenal and their transfer priorities and how it is up to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get the best out of Paul Pogba.
Barnes Exclusive: Liverpool were better two years ago than they are now, they were more consistent with how they played
They aren’t leaking more goals than normal. It is simply the way they play. When you play a high line, every now and then an opposition player gets through. It doesn’t happen very often, but when they win the ball, they can go on to score goals, you can’t you have it perfect in every way. Roy Keane wasn’t necessarily that critical, he praised us (Liverpool) for the way they played, and they were a little bit sloppy at times. Liverpool are a well-balanced side between defence and attack, and now play a high line. They’re giving away more chances but are scoring more goals. So, it’s certainly entertaining to watch from a fan’s perspective.
Two years ago, Liverpool were more consistent when they won the Champions League Final and lost one game, I thought they played better than they did last season. Last year when they won the league matches, Man City obviously weren’t as good, but I believe that they (Liverpool) played better two years ago. They have been consistent, for the last two years, you can nitpick to say whether last year was better than the year before, but they have been so consistent in the last 48 months and that’s reflected in the results on the pitch. The team have only lost two or three games in two years which is a phenomenal achievement.
Barnes Exclusive: Mané is one of the best in the world
Mané suits Jurgen Klopp’s playing style and all the players are suited to the way Liverpool play. If Mane, Firmino or Salah went to City or Barcelona they wouldn’t be as effective. Jurgen has picked the players in the image of what he wants the team to be. At present, he is one of the most in form players in the world and it’s great to see him playing his best football at Liverpool. For me, he’s one of the best in the Premier League.
Barnes Exclusive: No fans make for a great spectacle; teams are attacking more with no pressure from supporters
Teams are being more attacking in their style of play but at the same time maybe certain teams don’t feel that much pressure when they concede when playing in an empty stadium. I suppose if you are normally playing in front of 40,000 people each week and you are the underdog, you really don’t want to lose. So yes, I do think that with no crowds we are seeing more entertaining games, it’s an interesting dynamic but makes for a great spectacle.
Barnes Exclusive: The law needs to be amended for handball, it’s absurd
I’ve always said you want the referee to go over to look at the monitor, but it doesn’t really make any difference because he still must adhere to the letter of the law. So, that’s a problem, the common sense has been taken out of it. Neither of the two incidents last weekend should have been penalties.
The players can’t be told to keep their arms by their side when they jump because it is unnatural. I do feel sorry for referees because they make decisions fast, so you must give them some amount of discretion to make that decision as to whether it’s a penalty or not. Referees should be able to provide their own interpretation of the game and its rules without them having to blow for a penalty each time it strikes someone’s hand, and they can’t do anything about it.
Barnes Exclusive: Arsenal need to forget about Aoaur and sign defensively, Partey could make all the difference
If I was Arsenal or Mikel Arteta, I wouldn’t be worried about Houssem Aouar, I would be looking at my defence. Arsenal need more defenders and ones with quality. It’s not in attack where they need to strengthen, their attackers are good. Once you get at the Arsenal back four you can really cause them problems and that has been their problem for a while. You compare them to Liverpool, whose midfield three support the defence which consequently allows the front three to flourish.
That’s the difference, working as a cohesive team unit with and without the ball. Lots of the big teams need quality defensive players and not just exciting attacking talent. They’re linked with Tomas Partey who is a good defensive midfield player with a lot of attributed that could really help Arsenal he could be the solution they need to stop conceding so many goals, especially away from home.
Barnes Exclusive: Ole needs to get the best out of Paul Pogba this season
If Paul Pogba plays to his full potential, he gets into any team in the world. He played well last year towards the end of the season with Fernandes. I don’t think just because he’s had a few bad games at the start of this season that means he should be dropped. However, Paul can get to those higher levels and work himself more, it is up to Ole to get the best out of him. We know how good a committed Paul Pogba is, it’s just a case of how much he wants to perform for Manchester United.
Barnes Exclusive: The League Cup needs to offer more prize money if it wants to be taken more seriously
Teams need to be offered more money as an incentive, they will then take the competition more seriously as they do for the Champions league and Europa League. Teams have big squads; you look at Jose Mourinho saying he can’t put out a full-strength team for the domestic cups because of his priority with the Premier league, it is not a good enough excuse for me. He has plenty of rotation options I the squad and should be grateful for the players that he has available to play.
Barnes Exclusive: Dele Alli should look for a move away to reignite his career, PSG makes sense
Dele Alli is a fantastic player, I have always said when it comes to footballers, forget about where you want to play, look at the type of football that suits you. Jose is not the most attack minded manager, so maybe it would be best for him to go to another club that plays a different style and would benefit him.
>Tottenham is a fantastic place for Dele to be at, and the set up they have at the club is amazing. However, if he thinks about the way he plays he could possibly maximize his potential somewhere else. He’s not a Jose Mourinho-type player and might not appeal to the football that the manager wants to play. For me, he should maybe assess his options and where best suits him and his style. ’I’ve seen he’s linked with PSG, that would make sense as they are an attack-minded team which could allow him to really express himself on the pitch again. Thomas Tuchel is also a manager that loves to set his teams up on the front foot. Maybe Dele could play then play in a more favoured position just behind the striker. He’d also work well at Arsenal and Chelsea, but I don’t think Tottenham would let that happen!
Barnes Exclusive: Alfredo Morelos has it within him to be a huge player for Rangers this season
Alfredo Morelos has it within himself to become a huge player this season, he has so much quality and could really be an asset for Steven Gerrard at Rangers. As a player you either want to stay with a club when things aren’t so good, or you want to leave. A manager needs that commitment from his players and if he is going to stay and show loyalty to the team, Rangers is obviously a great place for him, the fans love him, and he is a quality player for them. If he can hit the ground running this season, he could score a lot of goals.
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