Liverpool legend John Barnes has identified the biggest problem for his old club right now as they go through something of a transitional period under Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds look a long way from being the team that came so close to a quadruple last season, with yesterday’s defeat away to Arsenal leaving them 10th in the Premier League table, with just two wins out of eight games played.
Liverpool’s title challenge is surely over now, and there look to be concerns almost all over the pitch as none of their best players are performing at anything like their best.
Speaking on Sky Sports in the video below, Barnes makes it clear he thinks the main issue is in midfield, with the profile of player in that position now failing to give the defence the kind of protection it used to…
Barnes says that while Fabinho and former Liverpool ace Georginio Wijnaldum used to be key players in that department, we’re now seeing more of the likes of Thiago Alcantara, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho, which means the likes of Virgil van Dijk are a bit more exposed, and also that attack-minded full-backs like Trent Alexander-Arnold can’t play with the same kind of freedom as before.
“That defensive stability, for me, came from the three midfield players, allowing Trent and Robbo to get forward – three hard-working midfielders and two centre-backs, you were not able to get at our back four,” Barnes said.
“Now the profile is different, you’ve got Harvey Elliott, you’ve got Fabio Carvalho, Thiago Alcantara, who are good on the ball, but Arsenal, with less possession, had more opportunities in Liverpool’s box because that midfield isn’t protecting the defence.
“The amount of times Trent used to go forward, there would be a midfield player covering for him, whereas now when Trent goes forward, they’re getting straight at our back four.
“The way we play is changing, it’ll take time to adapt.”