Wednesday’s 2-1 away win against West Ham saw the Reds move up to sixth in the league. Klopp’s men are hoping to keep their slim hopes of a top four finish alive in the remaining games of the season. We caught up with Liverpool legend John Barnes to discuss what impressed him about their win against West Ham, Trent’s positional switch and a look ahead to Sunday’s clash against Tottenham.
Are Liverpool missing Trent’s right back influence?
Liverpool’s win against West Ham was a tightly contested 2-1 win which could have gone either way. However, Klopp and his troops will not be worried about how they get their wins at this stage of the season. Cody Gapko’s strike from distance to draw Liverpool level was one many plus points for the reds. Barnes was again impressed with Trent in his new inverted midfield role.
“Trent played well but we have to ask ourselves the question if he is creating more chances from his position in the midfield? I don’t think he is. He is a good midfielder but he creates more chances with his crosses from the right back position.”
“I think Liverpool missed him at the right back position. They will benefit more from him playing there but in the midfield even though he did well.”
“Gakpo played very well. It wasn’t the most sparkling performance from him or Liverpool but at least we are getting points, which is the main focus.”
Trent breaks Liverpool assist record
Trent Alexander Arnold now has five assists in the month of April. According to Opta, he is the first Liverpool player to assist five goals in a single month of a Premier League season. Barnes remains stern in his belief that Liverpool will get the best out of the 24 year old from his traditional right back position rather than the more inverted role he’s been used in since Liverpool’s clash against Arsenal.
“Well, first of all we need to talk about what an assist is. He passed the ball to Gakpo and he turned and did all the work to get a goal so sometimes an assist can be quite easy to get.”
“In my opinion, Trent’s number of assists will increase if he is playing as a right back because of his crosses.”
“A lot of his assists are coming from the right back position like Arsenal, so it’s not that he is getting more assists because he is playing as a midfielder now.”
“He is very creative in terms of his crosses and passes but I don’t agree with the fact that he is creating more chances from a midfield position but because of his qualities on the ball, he will create chances no matter what position he is playing.”
Luiz Diaz cameo excites Barnes
Barnes was also keen to highlight his delight at the return of dynamic winger Luis Diaz, who has been blighted by a knee injury he sustained against Arsenal in the early parts of this season. Now that Diaz is back, he will be hoping the Columbian can help Liverpool to finish off the season strongly.
“Do I think that Liverpool can finish fourth? No, it’s probably going to be very difficult for us but we are fighting and we are playing well.”
“We all know how well Luis Diaz can play but it was very unfortunate that he got the injury. He is a very welcome return.”
“I think Diaz should be one of the three attacking players when he is fit. But Jurgen Klopp has a lot of players like Jota, Gakpo and Salah but in my opinion Diaz will always be one of the main players.”
Son, Kane and Kulusevski key danger men
Liverpool face Tottenham next, who managed to salvage a draw against top four contenders Manchester United. Despite their poor form this season, Barnes remains wary of the threat that the likes of Heung-Min Son, Harry Kane and Dejan Kulusevski are capable of posing.
“Whether Liverpool can beat Tottenham really depends on which Tottenham team that are turning up. I hope for Tottenham that it will be a different team than against Newcastle.”
“When you have players like Kane, Son and Kulusevski, then you can perform on any given day. It must be frustrating for Tottenham that they are so inconsistent with so many good players.”
“While Tottenham are suffering from lack of confidence, Liverpool can’t go into the match and believe they can relax against Tottenham – because they can’t.”
Midfield battle key to beating Tottenham
The former Liverpool winger has been very clear throughout the season that his biggest concern with this Liverpool side is the midfield. Whilst he expects Liverpool to come away with a victory, he highlights the midfield battle as a must win if the Reds are to thwart the attacking threat Spurs are capable of posing.
“It really depends on whether Tottenham are turning up or not. I expect Liverpool to win but they can definitely give us problems.”
For me it doesn’t really matter who Liverpool are starting with on the attacking line because every single one of them has been fantastic.”
“But we have to look at our midfield. That’s the important one to stop Tottenham and their attacking players.