Football: Barnes raring to go

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(First Edition)

JOHN BARNES is ready to shrug off the frustrations of three seasons in which he has been troubled by a succession of injuries to prove he is back to his best.

The 30-year-old Liverpool forward has spent the summer running and dieting and has returned to Anfield in his best condition for some time. Barnes says he is also determined to rediscover the form that once made him the most exciting winger in the country.

'I've been injured for the past three seasons,' said Barnes, who has played just 65 matches for Liverpool since the start of the 1991-92 campaign. 'I may still get injured, but this is the best I've felt for three years. I have to prove to myself, my team-mates and the manager that I'm not finished.'

His recovery could not have come at a better time for Roy Evans, Liverpool's manager, after a problematic pre-season build-up. Evans became involved in public rows with Julian Dicks and Mark Wright, while Don Hutchinson was transfer-listed after embarrassing pictures of his holiday high jinks appeared in a Sunday newspaper.