Exclusive: John Barnes Talks Joao Palhinha, Fabio Carvalho, And Liverpool’s Transfer Business

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This week we had the pleasure of catching up with former Liverpool winger John Barnes. The Anfield legend went into detail about Liverpool’s reported interest in Joao Palhinha, the emergence of Waturu Endo, Dominic Szoboszlai and Carvalho’s loan to Hull City.

In this article:

  • Liverpool’s Interest in Joao Palhinha
  • Wataru Endo: Liverpool’s Surprising Standout and the Search for a Fabinho Replacement
  • Szoboszlai the Premier League’s best summer signing
  • Hull loan move is best for Carvalho’s development

Liverpool’s Interest in Joao Palhinha

Liverpool have recently been linked with a potential move for Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha. The Portugal international has enjoyed a successful spell since joining Marco Silva’s squad from Sporting in 2022, showcasing his prowess in midfield. Notably, Palhinha led the Premier League in tackles made during the previous season.

Given his impressive track record and the fact that his move to Bayern Munich was thwarted last summer, there is now speculation about whether Joao Palhinha could serve as a viable long-term option for Liverpool in the crucial defensive midfield role.

“Possibly but that’s not going to happen in January. So to talk about the long term, after January, we can look at a few No. 6s. Palhinha is one of them. But that’s not going to help up between now and the end of the season.

“If you ask me whether he would be a great signing for Liverpool long term, of course he would but he’s not coming in January.

“He’s been Fulham’s best player and if they have aspirations to either stay in the Premier League or do okay, they’re not going to sell their best players in January. January is not the time to buy teams’ best players if you want to improve your own situation.”

Wataru Endo: Liverpool’s Surprising Standout and the Search for a Fabinho Replacement

Japan’s captain, Wataru Endo, arrived at Liverpool as a £16 million signing from Stuttgart. He has been a constant presence in the starting lineup for the past six matches, stepping in admirably for the injured Alexis Mac Allister. During this period, Endo managed to adapt and find his footing in English football, earning recognition from Liverpool supporters who voted him as the men’s player of the month for December.

However, despite his recent impressive performances, Endo has departed for the Asia Cup this month. His acquisition was a last-minute decision following unsuccessful attempts to sign Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia. While speculations link Liverpool to the transfer market once again, Barnes is convinced that the club already possesses a suitable replacement for Fabinho, who left for the Saudi League last summer.

“There’s nobody that’s going to come in this month. I think we already have a long term solution to the defensive midfield situation with Stafan Bajcectic. He could be our Fabinho replacement.

“We’re just waiting for him to get fit. He for me would be one for the future. Next season we have Bajcetic so why do we need to buy anyone? He can fulfil that role that Fabinho played. He’s the one. He’ll be ready for next season.”

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Szoboszlai the Premier League’s best summer signing

Liverpool made significant waves in the summer transfer market, securing the services of Dominic Szoboszlai, Ryan Gravenberch, Wataru Endo, and Alexis Mac Allister. These acquisitions played a pivotal role in revitalising Liverpool’s midfield, which had been showing signs of weakness. However, the question arises: which of Liverpool’s summer signings has made the most significant impact thus far?

According to Barnes, there is no doubt that Dominic Szoboszlai stands out as not only Liverpool’s best signing of the past summer but also the Premier League’s standout signing of the season.

“Dominic Szoboszlai has been the most impactful Liverpool summer signing. He started so well but in the last two or three games he hasn’t hit the heights he showed at the start of the season.

“He set such a high standard that he was never going to be able to continue. He’s still a young player that’s growing, learning, settling into a new country and a new situation.

“He’s been exceptional for me. He’s been the best signing this season in the Premier League. He’s impressed me the most.”

Hull Loan Move Is Best for Carvalho’s development

Fabio Carvalho has reached an agreement to embark on a loan stint with Hull City, representing Liverpool for the remainder of the season. Hull City emerged as the preferred destination due to manager Liam Rosenior’s reputation for providing loaned players with valuable opportunities, exemplified by the success of another Anfield talent, Tyler Morton, in the current campaign.

Barnes firmly believes that the assurance of consistent playing time at Hull makes this move the best choice for Carvalho, even if it might be perceived as a step down in terms of club stature.

“The most important thing for him is to be playing regularly. He could have gone to a Premier League club but if he’s not going to play regularly what’s the point of him going out on loan?

“Him and the club feel he will get regular football time at Hull and they are a decent club so it’s a good move. People may say it’s a step down but he wants to play 90 minutes every week which for me is more ambitious than going to a Premier League club and sitting on the bench.”

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