Liverpool: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Liverpool legends John Barnes and Alan Hansen would improve Jurgen Klopp’s squad if they were playing for the Reds today, their former team-mate Ray Houghton has said.
Barnes and Hansen made a combined 1,003 appearances for Liverpool and their reliability would now be key to a side who had their Premier League title defence ruined by a devastating injury crisis last term.
Winger Barnes won two league titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup during a successful decade at the club after joining from Watford in 1987. The former England star was a prolific scorer, netting 107 times for the Anfield outfit.
Hansen arrived at Liverpool from Partick Thistle 10 years before Barnes but remained until 1991.
The former defender was a key part of the Liverpool side who dominated English and European football in the 1970s and 80s.
Hansen won eight league titles, three European Cups, four League Cups and two FA Cups during his remarkable 14-year Liverpool career.
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Ex-Reds midfielder Houghton believes both players who be important assets if they were available to Klopp today.
The trio won the 1987-88 and 1989-90 league titles together, the latter being the final time that Liverpool finished a season at the summit of English football for 30 years.
They were also part of the FA Cup-winning sides of 1989 and 1992.
Houghton believes that Barnes would add a different dimension to Klopp’s wide options as he preferred to remain close to the touchline, unlike Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah who prefer to cut inside.
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Hansen would be the ideal partner for Virgil van Dijk, the former Republic of Ireland star also claims.
“Barnesy was our best player,” Houghton, who played 200 times for Liverpool, told Express Sport.
“There were a few years when Barnesy was actually unplayable. I think he would give them a different dimension now.
“I don’t think there are many players who can run with the ball like he did, or attract defenders like him.
“You see that Mo [Salah] wants to come inside quite a lot, from outside to in and be involved in central positions.
“Barnesy was just as happy on the wing, taking players on with a lovely balance. He was a great crosser of the ball and assisted a lot of goals. He also scored a lot of goals.
“For the players that they have, he would be great.
“Defensively, I would have Alan Hansen. He was calm and… he would be even better today because you don’t have to tackle anymore, you don’t have to jump and head it anymore.
“You have just got to be able to read the game and be able to play. He did that better than anyone, so those are the two players who I think would certainly help.
“Alan alongside Virgil would be an unbelievable partnership.”
Klopp’s slightly less hypothetical transfer business has already begun as he plans an improved Premier League title bid.
The Reds activated the £35million transfer release clause inserted into defender Ibrahima Konate’s contract. The Frenchman, 22, yesterday revealed that he would wear the No 5 shirt.
How much would John Barnes and Alan Hansen cost Liverpool today? And would they improve Klopp’s starting XI? Let us know in the comments below.
Houghton was speaking to Express Sport on behalf of Outlaw Pro, who are launching a six-part mini-series called Angling Outlaws in which Houghton will join fellow ex-footballers in being trained by multi-world champion anglers on BT Sport next year.
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