John Barnes: Why Jurgen Klopp shouldn’t build Liverpool around Philippe Coutinho
John Barnes says Jurgen Klopp would be wrong to build his Liverpool team around Philippe Coutinho
John Barnes has warned Jurgen Klopp over the perils of building his Liverpool team around Philippe Coutinho.
The Reds have been contending without the Brazilian playmaker over the past couple of months aside from a brief return from injury before the midfielder’s hamstring problem flared up again.
You obviously have to integrate Coutinho, and other players, into what you want, but you should never build a team around just one player
Coutinho was Liverpool’s standout player in the opening three months of the season after a return of five goals and three assists in 17 Premier League games.
However, the 23-year-old niggling hamstring issues means Klopp has been forced to rely on other members of his squad in the former Inter Milan star’s absence.
And Barnes, who won three top-flight titles during his Anfield career, believes Klopp should work with the team’s overall strengths, as opposed to focusing on one player.
“I don’t think you should ever build a team around any one player,” Barnes exclusively told The Sport Review.
“You should always build a team around strengths, which is what he [Klopp] did at Dortmund. If you build a team around Coutinho and then he goes or gets injured, are you then saying you can’t perform?
“You obviously have to integrate Coutinho, and other players, into what you want, but you should never build a team around just one player.”
Coutinho moved to Liverpool in an £8.5m deal from Inter in January 2013.
The Brazilian has scored 18 times in 98 Premier League games during three-and-a-half seasons on Merseyside.