John Barnes believes that the absence of Van Dijk had a huge impact on full-backs performances.
had a fantastic performance as a central defender againstManchester United
, John Barnes believes that the absence of
has affected the performance of
. The two full-backs are not as good as expected while Arnold is even struggling to have an average performance.
held back with a draw against the top of the table side Manchester United on Sunday. Jurgen Klopp has already missed as many points as they missed in all season last year.
“When you’re so used to playing a particular style with a particular way with three hard-working midfield players, you’ve got Van Dijk at the back who gives you that assurance, which allows the full-backs to go forward with conviction and be creative,"
the Liverpool legend told talkSPORT.
“All of a sudden, the psychological effects of Van Dijk not being there affects the whole team.
“So it doesn’t necessarily physically affect the team in terms of what they do, but if you look at Trent Alexander-Arnold, for example, or even Andy Robertson, when Van Dijk is there they know they can go forward with conviction knowing that they’re safe at the back.
“I don’t think they’re being as creative.”
Barnes also believes that although Thiago has played well individually, he is slowing down the pace of Liverpool.
“Thiago, who was running the game and was the best player in the first-half, I don’t think that necessarily helped the front three,"
“With Henderson and Fabinho in midfield, they just get the ball forward and are much more direct for the three strong-running strikers to get on the ball and go on attack, Thiago slows the game down.
“When he slowed the game down in tight areas, that is not Mane’s game, that is not Salah’s game. So we’re getting used to a new system, but at the moment it’s not working.
“In my opinion, along with Man City, we’re still favourites [for the title].”