John Barnes: “Nunez isn’t the man to fire Liverpool to the title in Salah’s absence. The team has to fire Liverpool to the title.”

We recently had the opportunity to interview Liverpool and England legend John Barnes. During our conversation, he shared his thoughts on how Liverpool will cope without Salah and the idea of Joshua Kimmich joining the Reds this summer. 

In this article: 

  • Barnes is not looking to Nunez as Salah’s replacement 
  • Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo is Liverpool’s strongest front three without Salah 
  • Egypt’s style of play to blame for Salah’s form 
  • Kimmich would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool 

Barnes is not looking to Nunez as Salah’s replacement 

Former Liverpool player Robbie Keane has recently identified Darwin Nunez as the individual capable of leading Liverpool to the title in the absence of Mohamed Salah. Despite facing criticism for not possessing the prolific scoring record of a top striker, Nunez has contributed with both goals and assists, accumulating a total of ten goal involvements in 31 games this season.

Barnes contends that it would be unjust to burden Darwin Nunez with the sole responsibility of carrying Liverpool’s goal-scoring load in Salah’s absence.

“Nunez isn’t the man to fire Liverpool to the title. The team has to fire Liverpool to the title.”

“We have Jota, Gakpo, Elliott, Diaz so I don’t think Salah is going to take over Salah’s goal scoring responsibilities because he’s not that type of player.” 

“He can help us maintain our consistency. Every time he plays he contributes but I’m not looking at him to fire Liverpool to the title.” 

“It’s too much pressure to put on him but he can be part of a very successful Liverpool team.”

“I don’t think there is a strongest Liverpool front three like when we had Firmino, Salah and Mane.” 

“Now we have Diaz, Gakpo and other players that can play in the forward positions.” 

Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo are Liverpool’s strongest front three without Salah 

In Mohamed Salah’s absence, Liverpool witnessed standout performances with Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez both netting twice, propelling the team to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Bournemouth during the weekend. When queried about Liverpool’s current best front three, Barnes offered a fascinating perspective on the club’s attacking prowess.

“I think right now in Salah’s absence the strongest front three would be Diaz, Nunez and Gakpo. Harvey Elliott is there too.” 

“That front three is probably what you’re looking at but I don’t think anyone is cemented as the front three.” 

“Klopp can’t make a wrong decision whoever he starts because whoever plays does well and that’s why Liverpool are top of the league.”

Egypt’s style of play to blame for Salah’s form 

Mohamed Salah appears poised to sit out several crucial matches for both Liverpool and Egypt in the coming weeks, following an injury update provided by his agent. The Egyptian forward has faced criticism for his inability to replicate his outstanding Liverpool performances while representing his national team. Nevertheless, there remains a glimmer of hope that he might return to action if he can recover from his back injury before the tournament concludes.

Barnes points to the significant differences in playing style and the quality of players surrounding Salah as factors influencing his ability to mirror his Liverpool form while playing for Egypt. Additionally, he raises an intriguing argument, suggesting that Salah might not perform at the same level for Manchester City as he does for Liverpool.

“Egypt play in a different way to the way Liverpool play.” 

“When I played for Liverpool and England people would ask why don’t I play the same way for England as I do for Liverpool but they didn’t play the same way.” 

“Egypt don’t play the way Liverpool play so to expect him to be a Messi or a Ronaldo is unfair. Salah plays in a Liverpool team and does very well in this particular Liverpool team.” 

“I don’t think he would play as well at Man City because City play in a different way to Liverpool and the system may not suit him as well.” 

“Also, at Liverpool it could be said he’s playing with better players than he is for Egypt.”

“It’s only natural that he plays better for his club. It happens with most players.” 

“Look at De Bruyne with Belgium.”

Kimmich would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool 

Joshua Kimmich’s current contract with Bayern Munich has just one year left, and it seems that there is no progress in finding a resolution to this matter. According to reports, Manchester United and Liverpool are gearing up for a summer showdown in the pursuit of Kimmich’s signature. The versatile German midfielder has yet to extend the four-year contract he signed in 2021.

Barnes, a staunch admirer of Kimmich, has expressed his desire to see the talented midfielder join his preferred club. He believes that signing Kimmich would be a great addition to complement the emergence of young midfielder Stefan Bajcetic.

“Kimmich could be a good signing but I think long term Stefan Bajcetic is being earmarked for that role and would be playing in the defensive midfielder role had he been fit at the start of the season.” 

“Kimmich is a fantastic player. A great number six that can play and has great experience at the highest level of the game.” 

“Bajcetic will be great for Liverpool in the future but you can’t just rely on him at his young age so Kimmich would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool.”