farewell to Barnes
From Mr S Leavy
Sir: At the start of the season, there were two factors preventing Liverpool from winning the league - John Barnes and Ian Rush. So far Rush has lost his place in the team yet Barnes has been ever present.
On Merseyside they are living legends, and rightly so, but their time is over.
It is no surprise that Liverpool have been the first club to score 50 goals this season. With Fowler and Collymore up front, the side pose a continual threat to any opposition. Yet for most of the autumn, Roy Evans, the Liverpool manager, persisted with Rush, at the expense of first Fowler and then Collymore. Rush was ineffective and the team looked impotent.
Evans is making a similar mistake by picking Barnes for every game. The hard truth of the matter is that Barnes is only a shadow of his former self. He is a passenger in the team. He plods around a zone 15 yards either side of the half-way line, more often than not just in front of his defence to whom he lays off a five-yard ball first time.
He adds no value to the team. If Liverpool are to return the glory days, they must be capable of beating the very best. It is difficult to see them competing against the likes of Ajax and Milan. These teams have no room for passengers, they function with 11 intelligent, gifted athletes.
Evans and Liverpool have to make a brave decision. Premiership football is brutal and unforgiving and, for the sake of the club, Barnes should be discarded. It is probably too late now to alter the course of this year's championship, but if Evans acts soon Liverpool will be a tremendous bet for next year.