Facing a dinner audience in Malta on Monday night, Anfield legend John Barnes made an passionate defence of both Liverpool’s current plight on the field as well as throwing his support behind manager Rafa Benitez as he called on fans to keep the faith.
While many are turning their back on Liverpool at present, Barnes was at pains to stress that Liverpool over-achieved last term thereby skewing the pre-season objectives during the current season. Further, the former England winger made the point of illustrating that not only is the Scouse squad less formidable than the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United or even Arsenal, but also that Spurs have a better squad than the Liverpudlians.
But even with that being the case, Barnes made the argument that Rafa Benitez should be supported in his effort to turn around the season on Merseyside, while also arguing that a top four finish is well withing the Reds’ grasp.
Barnes: “The current Liverpool squad isn’t as strong technically as that of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. (Steven) Gerrard and (Fernando) Torres are world-class but Liverpool have lost Xabi Alonso and Alberto Aquilani has just come into the team. Liverpool’s first game against Tottenham this season told the whole story. Tottenham’s substitutes bench was stronger than Liverpool’s.
“Liverpool overachieved last season. I still believe that they can finish in the top four but they are going through a difficult spell and with Torres, Gerrard and (Yossi) Benayoun out injured, the situation is not very good. I still think that (manager) Rafael Benitez is the right man for the job. I don’t see the point of changing the manager if you don’t have money to spend on new players.
“The season is not over for Liverpool. Yes, they are out of the Champions League and the FA Cup but they’re in the Europa League and they can still make the top four. Fourth place in the Premier League is what Liverpool should aim for.”