talkSPORT exclusive – Fans need to be patient with seeing Liverpool’s defence improve, says John Barnes

Former Liverpool star John Barnes has told talkSPORT Jurgen Klopp will address Liverpool’s defensive problems despite the fact the Reds failed to secure the signing of Virgil Van Dijk last summer.

Speaking to The Two Mikes on Friday night after Liverpool’s crazy draw at Arsenal in which Klopp’s side threw away a two-goal lead, the former winger insisted Liverpool fans need to be patient in seeing their side improve defensively.

Goals from Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah either side of half time put Liverpool 2-0 up before three Arsenal goals in five minutes saw the Gunners sensationally go 3-2 up.

Roberto Firmino’s strike twenty minutes from time spared Liverpool’s blushes, but the draw saw Klopp’s men take their points dropped from winning positions total to eight points this season.

But Barnes, who signed for Liverpool in 1987 from Watford, claimed this is not a statistic worth worrying about.

He said: “Liverpool are not the only side who drops points, everyone drops points. There are points Liverpool should not have won but we did get them.

“We are not very good at the back but we should have been more clinical going forward. We should have had more goals in the first half, we could have been three of four up. We score a lot of goals but if you look at our conversion rate it’s not very good.

“But that is our manager. He has identified the problems and failed to get Virgil Van Dijk in and Naby Keita is coming next year so he does know we have to improve defensively. Hopefully in January or by next season we will have improved.

“But for now we have to play with what we have. We’re fourth at the moment which is good.

“Yes it’s disappointing we threw away the game but we were playing against a very good Arsenal team.

“Both teams are not great and that is not going to change overnight. Klopp has identified that problem and is looking to improve the situation with the players he has got.”

“What Klopp shouldn’t do and fans need to also realise this, is spend money just for the sake of it. What he could have done is spent £60million pounds on players other than Van Dijk and Keita and players he did not want. Klopp has been here for two years and unfortunately people think that is long enough for a manager.

When asked if Liverpool could learn from their Merseyside neighbours Everton, who have conceded just two goals in six games since Sam Allardyce took over as manager, Barnes was quick to dismiss this idea.

He added: “Sam Allardyce is a defensive coach but can he go the other way and make Everton play attractive football that Liverpool play? No he probably won’t. Look at Mourinho, he’s not going to change his philosophy at Manchester United to play like Manchester City. Different coaches stand for different things.

“I think Jurgen Klopp will try and address that defensive problem but unfortunately it did not work out this year and Liverpool fans will probably have to put up with this until the end of the season.”

Liverpool lie fourth after their draw to Arsenal going into the halfway point of the 2017/18 campaign, and Barnes insisted this was a good position for the Reds to be in.

Barnes said: “Realistically Liverpool should not be in the top two, so being fourth is pretty much where we should be.

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