Liverpool are catching fire at the right time in the season as Jurgen Klopp and co. continue in their bid for a Europa League spot. The Reds emerged victorious in a 4-3 thriller against Tottenham this Sunday, with Diogo Jota scoring a last-gasp winner, seconds after Richarlison equalised for Spurs.
While Liverpool will try to maintain their fifth place, it is clear that they need to strengthen their midfield next season, if they want to compete for the Premier League title.
Liverpool legend John Barnes spoke to us about Liverpool’s midfield targets including Joao Palhinha and Moises Caicedo, as well as Curtis Jones who’s become a regular in recent matches.
Curtis Jones has done the job when called upon but he won’t be a regular when everyone’s fit
English midfielder Curtis Jones struggled to get game time earlier in the season but a long-term injury to Stefan Bajcetic opened up a spot for him and he has now started six games in a row.
Jones has impressed with his performances in the middle of the park, even getting an assist against Leeds and then scoring against Tottenham.
Barnes praised Jones for stepping up when needed, as he understands the system and role that he is expected to perform in the midfield.
“Curtis Jones has never let the team down, when he is playing. Whenever he has been called upon, his performances have always been amazing.”
“He understands his role and the system very well and he is always doing well. He will continue improving, especially when the team is getting more consistent.”
That being said, Barnes does not think Jones would be starting if the first-choice midfielders would be fit.
“He is a regular starter right now but mainly because of all the injuries. If everyone is fit, he maybe wouldn’t be a regular player.”
Moises Caicedo would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool
Liverpool have been linked with a move for Brighton midfield general, Moises Caicedo and Barnes wholly endorses his addition.
The Liverpool icon believes that Caicedo fits the way Liverpool play and he could be the long-term successor to Georginio Wijnaldum.
“I think Moises Caicedo would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool. Liverpool plays with two defensive midfielders, so he would be a great addition to the squad.”
“He works very hard in the midfield, just like Jordan Hendersson, James Milner, Fabinho and Wijnaldum, when he was here.”
Barnes further exhorts Liverpool to pursue Caicedo as his playing style would allow Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to surge forward – something that they’ve not been able to do because of the lack of physicality in the Liverpool midfield this season.
“To have players like Caicedo in the midfield allows Trent and Robertson to go forward because of the structure in the midfield.”
“So to have a player like him would be fantastic for Liverpool.”
Joao Palhinha is similar to Caicedo and he would be a great option for Liverpool as well
Another similar midfielder who is reportedly on Liverpool’s transfer list is Fulham’s Joao Palhinha.
Barnes acknowledges the similarity in both and thinks that Palhinha would be a fine signing for Jurgen Klopp, despite his tendency to join the attack from time-to-time. Barnes cites Palhinha and Caicedo’s ability to intercept play as being one of the things Liverpool need in their midfield structure.
“Palhinha is quite similar to Moises Caicedo. Yes, he does get forward as well but his main focus is to work hard and defend.”
“I definitely think that Palhinha and Caicedo could help Liverpool. We need players that can intercept balls and work hard so we can get a great structure on the team and dominate games more.”
The England hero stresses his preference for hard-working midfielders at Liverpool as they already have technically strong midfielders in their ranks in the form of Harvey Elliott and Thiago Alcantara.
“I think that Liverpool is looking to get hard working midfielders like Palhinha and Caicedo. Of course, it’s nice to have someone who is very good on the ball but we already have Thiago and Harvey Elliot for that.”
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