John Barnes has suggested that he believes Liverpool will challenge for the Premier League title again next season, after the Reds just missed out to Manchester City on the final day of the season on Sunday.
Liverpool claimed a new record for the most amount of points won by a team finishing runners-up in the Premier League table, after Jurgen Klopp’s side reached 97 points following Sunday’s win against Wolves, meaning the Reds suffered just one defeat all season.
Barnes feels that Klopp’s side have shown the characteristics needed to become consistent Premier League title challengers and expects his former side to push for the title again next season.
“This is the first year we have done well, where I have felt we could continue to do it again next year,” Barnes told Sky Sports.
“But if you look at what Liverpool have done this season in terms of the demands Klopp puts on his team to play and win football matches, he demands a performance of intensity, of determination, of desire, and that’s what you get from Liverpool.”
“So next year I’m not going to say we are going to get 97 points and only lose one game, but I know, come the end of the season, we will be there or thereabouts again.”
Barnes is right to feel confident over Liverpool’s prospects of once again mounting a Premier League title challenge next season. Liverpool have been excellent this season, despite just missing out on the title to Manchester City, and as Barnes acknowledges Klopp’s side have displayed the type of characteristics needed to mount title challenges on a consistent basis. However, Liverpool have had false dawns before in recent years, finishing runners-up under both Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers, before going on to struggle in the following seasons after selling some key players. This time though that does not appear to be what is going to happen, with the Reds in a position where they are able to keep all of their crucial players, and it looks like this Liverpool side will be staying together for a few years at least. If Liverpool do keep this squad together then Barnes’ prediction about them challenging again will be proven right, the Reds will firstly though be concentrating on ending this season by winning the Champions League.