Back at Liverpool, says John Barnes, Philippe Coutinho will “most likely be brilliant,” but the Reds legend is not persuaded that at Anfield a goalscoring midfielder is needed.
In the final third of late, Jurgen Klopp’s side have experienced uncharacteristic struggles, with just one goal registered during their last three Premier League outings.
Of these fixtures, just two points were earned, with the final product drying up for the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah.
During a period of domestic supremacy, Liverpool has become so dependent on their front three that any drop off from that unit hits the collective cause hard.
With Takumi Minamino, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones the only others to have scored more than once this term, the targets have definitely not been spread around enough in the 2020-21 campaign.
It could be argued that an additional deep-seated hazard, such as the one once presented by Brazil’s international Coutinho, will support the Merseyside effort, but Barnes is not persuaded.
He told Goal: “Well, we finished 20-odd points off the top when we had a Coutinho-type of the player.”
So, while a player of the Coutinho type might chip in with goals, which would produce a completely different style of play, the front three would score less as a result.
“Honestly, when the front three try to continue scoring the same level of goals as they are used to as it would destroy the balance, I don’t think it works with a midfield player scoring goals.
And Liverpool managed to build a great balance and unity between the players, so I would not suggest changing that any time soon.
He’d most likely be fantastic if Coutinho came back, but I don’t think the front three will be scoring as many goals, nor would they have the same effect a team like Liverpool needs.
At the end of the day, the most important thing for a team is balance. And the balance is fine at the moment.
Despite having a goal-getting playmaker in their ranks, Liverpool have climbed back to the top of the Premier League table, but the title race has reeled them in and Barnes expects another exciting battle to end.