John Barnes Previews Liverpool Clash Against Brentford And Salah’s Return

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We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Liverpool icon, John Barnes, who gave us a preview of Liverpool’s clash against Brentford this weekend. The pundit also discussed Mohamed Salah’s return, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s absence, and Connor Bradley’s rise to prominence.

In this article:

  • Barnes excited at the return of Salah
  • Liverpool can cope without Trent
  • Brentford will cause Liverpool problems warns Barnes
  • Connor Bradley is an able deputy for Alexander-Arnold

Barnes excited at the return of Salah

With Arsenal and City hitting their stride, Mohamed Salah’s return could be pivotal for Liverpool’s league title aspirations. On Tuesday, Salah resumed training with Liverpool for the first time in almost six weeks, suggesting he might play in Saturday’s match against Brentford. Salah has scored 14 goals in 20 games this season, and although Liverpool have managed well without him, the team will undoubtedly gain from the comeback of their Egyptian star.

“It’s always great to have your best players returning and Mo is one of our best players. He’s a great goalscorer and just his presence is enough to be daunting to the opposition.

“Regardless of whether Arsenal and Manchester City are in form or not you want to see Mo Salah back anyway so it’s great to have him back.”

Liverpool can cope without Trent

While Liverpool has been uplifted by Salah’s return, they’ve received a significant setback with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury, sidelining him for an extended period. He will miss the next three games for his team: in the Premier League against Luton and Brentford, and the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea on February 25. Despite this, Barnes remains optimistic about Liverpool’s ability to manage without their right-back, who has been in excellent form this season.

“I’m not worried about Trent’s injury being a recurring thing or that he’ll start getting injuries often. He looks after himself well. He was probably playing with the injury so the club will probably need to take a bit more time with his recuperation. I don’t think there will be a long term issue.

“But of course he will be a big loss and maybe Liverpool may again have to change the way the team plays until he returns because the way he’s used in the inverted midfield role when Liverpool have possession only suits him. If it’s Connor Bradley or Joe Gomez I can’t see them doing that role.

“But I don’t think it will cause much of an issue because Liverpool have more than enough midfield players. You will always miss your best players but I think we can cope with that.”

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Connor Bradley is an able deputy for Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s absence presents another opportunity for Connor Bradley to further his development and assert his position in the Liverpool squad. According to Barnes, the academy graduate has already secured his spot in the team. Barnes also delineates the differences between a right-back like Bradley and Alexander-Arnold.

“He’s made his mark in the Liverpool squad, and I would say he’s now an established player within it,” Barnes stated. “This is a chance for him to play more regularly, which will be beneficial for him. It will enhance his confidence and foster belief among the fans and his teammates in his ability to perform consistently.”

“He’s seized the opportunity presented to him, and as long as this continues, both he and the club will reap the benefits,” he added. While acknowledging Trent’s absence will be felt, Barnes regards Bradley as a highly capable substitute. “Bradley is probably a better defender than Trent, though naturally, he doesn’t match Trent’s creativity or influence,” he explained.

Bradley excels in defence and adopts a more traditional full-back approach reminiscent of past styles. “He’ll be an asset to Liverpool,” Barnes concluded.

Brentford will cause Liverpool problems warns Barnes

Next up for Liverpool is an away game against Brentford, where Jurgen Klopp’s team will travel south to face Ivan Toney and his teammates. Brentford is capable of challenging any team on their day and is bolstered by the presence of an in-form Toney, who will aid their ambitions for the rest of the season. Barnes highlights the aerial threat Brentford poses and cautions Liverpool against conceding unnecessary set pieces to Thomas Frank’s squad.

“Brentford play a direct style and they now have Ivan Toney back who is scoring goals. They score a lot of goals from set pieces and get balls in the box so they’ll be a threat.

“We have to nullify that threat by stopping them getting to the byline and by not giving away free kicks, corners and long throws away. Liverpool are playing confidently so I’m sure Liverpool will get a good result.”

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