Exclusive Interview

Exclusive interview: Liverpool FC legend John Barnes on Dejan Lovren’s future and more

We spoke to Liverpool FC and England legend John Barnes to get his thoughts after the Reds' successful season

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
John Barnes
John Barnes (Photo: Bonus Code Bets)

This week, we spoke to Liverpool FC legend John Barnes about a number of topics, including the Reds’ reported interest in signing Nabil Fekir from Lyon, and Dejan Lovren’s future.

Barnes, who was speaking on behalf of bookmaker comparison site BonusCodeBets.co.uk, also spoke about Rhian Brewster and Trent Alexander-Arnold’s impressive campaign.

Divock Origi ended up playing an important role for Liverpool FC last season despite his lack of first-team football. How much does that highlight the harmony in the squad?

Shaqiri is the same. Jurgen has got such a strong bond and harmony within the team that regardless of who plays, because we know the front three are going to be Mane, Firmino and Salah, the other players are able to show their worth.

It’s very important because you have to know that the players who are going to come in are equally as motivated and are willing to do the work for the team rather than sulking around because they are not playing. That’s what Jurgen Klopp has done with all of the positions. When James Milner, Joel Matip or Dejan Lovren doesn’t play – whoever he picks gives 100 per cent for the team.

It’s because the fans have given him the power to do that. In the past if it didn’t go well, the fans would boo the manager. It’s no surprise to me that the two managers who are completely autonomous in every decision they take – Guardiola and Klopp – are 20 points better than everybody else. It’s because the harmony is not right at the other clubs and the managers have been undermined. The fans have to give the manager the power to create that harmony.

What do you make of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s season? Is he one of the best right-backs in the world on current form?

You have to be doing it for three, four or five years before you can be considered as the best right-back in the world. He had a good end to the season but he went through a bit of a sticky patch.

I don’t want to put pressure on him and talk about him being the best right-back in the world.

He’s a fantastic player and a good member of the team but I don’t think at this moment in time that he’s the best right-back in the world.

Now that Liverpool FC have decided to release Daniel Sturridge, could that give Rhian Brewster more of a chance next season?

Rhian Brewster is a very young player and he’s not got to prove himself in the team because he’s not going to play ahead of the front three. He’s probably behind Origi as well, so yes, he will probably be part of the squad but I don’t think that necessarily means that he will step into the first 11.

Of course, it’s a good time for him to be involved in the squad coming off the bench at times. He’s one to look at, but I’m not going to be putting pressure on Rhian Brewster because he’s not going to be in the first 11. In time, maybe he can have a few more appearances.

The summer transfer window is open and one player who has recently been linked again with a move to Anfield is Nabil Fekir. Jurgen Klopp obviously saw something he likes in him if he tried to sign him last year. Do you think he’d be a good addition to the team?

Yes, he’d be a good addition to the squad. But as I said, it’s going to be difficult to get into the front three. If you look at the way Xherdan Shaqiri played, he could feature as one of the midfield three as well. It’s always good to have quality to help the squad. But it’s pure speculation until it happens.

I don’t necessarily feel that Liverpool are desperate to sign anybody because of the squad they have and with two new players coming back in terms of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, who didn’t feature last year. We’ve still got Adam Lallana. It could be good for the squad but I don’t think we’re desperate to sign anybody.

One player who’s been linked with a move away from Liverpool is Dejan Lovren. Do you think that would be a good move for him or would you rather see him stay at Liverpool FC?

With Joe Gomez coming back, if Lovren feels that he’s not going to be playing any more and he wants to play first-team football, fine. I quite like him at Liverpool because of course, if players get injured, he can step in and do a good job.

But players sometimes think to themselves that they want to play first-team football so therefore if he leaves, I’ll have every respect for him, rather than him just staying at Liverpool in the comfort zone. Maybe it is time for him to move on if that’s what he decides.

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