Barnes: Reds can make it bridge of highs

Barnes: Reds can make it bridge of highs

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes his former club have their best chance in years of overcoming Chelsea in a league game at Stamford Bridge when the two unbeaten Premier League pacesetters clash this weekend.

Liverpool have only beaten Chelsea in their own backyard once since last winning the title back in 1990, but they are not the only team who have struggled in west London with the Blues currently unbeaten at home in 86 league matches.

The last time Chelsea failed to pick up at least a point at home was in February 2004 when they lost 2-1 to Arsenal.

However, former Liverpool winger Barnes feels that record could be under serious threat this weekend when Rafael Benitez’s side roll into town on the back of an impressive run of 12 wins and four draws from their last 16 competitive matches.

“There’s every chance that Liverpool can win,” Barnes told PA Sport.

“Chelsea will obviously be favourites because they are at home and are on that long unbeaten run, but Liverpool can win, particularly as they are playing with confidence.”

Liverpool will be without star striker Fernando Torres for Sunday’s clash due to a hamstring injury, but the Spain international was also missing for the match that Barnes believes could have marked a major mind-shift for the Anfield club.

Torres, along with talismanic skipper Steven Gerrard, were both missing from the starting line-up for the September 13 encounter with champions Manchester United, but Liverpool still managed to hit back from going a goal down to defeat their arch rivals 2-1.

That was a rare recent triumph over United and Barnes feels it helped Liverpool get a monkey off their back.

“I think the result against Manchester United without Gerrard and Torres has given everybody a belief that they can actually compete and win without those two,” said the former England international, who played over 400 first-team games for Liverpool.

“There is a new belief about Liverpool in the league now, the same that fans and everybody surrounding the club have in Europe.

“It’s not so much the players and the staff, it’s the fans.

“The fans can transmit their feelings on to the pitch, and whenever Torres and Gerrard haven’t been there, it’s been a bit doom and gloom for the fans, which then goes onto the pitch.

“So after the result against Manchester United, even the fans have the belief in the squad, whether Torres and Gerrard are playing.”

Another attribute Liverpool can be proud of this season is their ability to fight back from deficits.

They have been forced to stage comebacks four times already this season after going behind, the last two being the 3-2 victories over Manchester City and Wigan.

Barnes, who was recently appointed the new coach of Jamaica, added: “Obviously going behind a few times this season isn’t ideal, because I don’t think you can go 2-0 down to Chelsea and come back and win, but nevertheless they are playing with a lot of heart and a lot of resilience.

“Chelsea still will be favourites but this is probably the best opportunity Liverpool will have of winning there in the last four or five years.”

More in this Section

Cork postman Declan delivers on Everest endurance featCork postman Declan delivers on Everest endurance feat

Ciarán O'Lionaird hits comeback trail to 'repay debt' to himself and CorkCiarán O'Lionaird hits comeback trail to 'repay debt' to himself and Cork

IRFU boss admits Irish players may look to leave country after pandemicIRFU boss admits Irish players may look to leave country after pandemic

EFL announce two positive tests at the same Championship clubEFL announce two positive tests at the same Championship club


Lifestyle

Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

More From The Irish Examiner