Wijnaldum leaving Liverpool hasn’t been ‘much of an issue’ – Barnes

Joe Williams
Former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum celebrates

John Barnes claims Paris Saint-Germain Georginio Wijnaldum has “not been missed that much” by Liverpool this season.

The Reds lost their first match of the season at the weekend as West Ham beat them 3-2 at the London Stadium and climbed above Jurgen Klopp’s men in the Premier League table.

It raised questions about their midfield and defence with some taking to social media to bemoan the loss of Wijnaldum and to criticise the defence.

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But Barnes thinks there has been an overreaction to the defeat with Liverpool managing just fine without the Netherlands international, who left for PSG on a free transfer in the summer.

Barnes told BonusCodeBets: “Liverpool not signing a direct replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum hasn’t affected their strength in depth in midfield because they still have Thiago Alcântara and have other young players coming through too.

“When Liverpool didn’t have Wijnaldum they still finished third in the league last year, so he’s not been missed that much. They’d miss Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and maybe even Roberto Firmino but with the midfielders we have, we can cope with players missing.

“Only Fabinho might be a problem [if he was injured] as he’s playing in a specialist position. Wijnaldum leaving isn’t much of an issue.”

Barnes added: “Liverpool conceding the three goals against West Ham wasn’t a sign of defensive complacency, or an issue with the high-line they play. The goals came from corners. Then they also scored a goal through one through ball, which can happen.

“Liverpool have lost one game in 26. We didn’t lose against Brighton either [despite Liverpool conceding two].

“People are getting carried away if they think it’s a disaster because they’ve drawn and lost a game.”

Roberto Firmino suffered a serious hamstring injury in their 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last week and could be out for a number of weeks.

But Barnes reckons Liverpool will cope, he said: “Roberto Firmino will be missed by Liverpool a lot. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t win matches, but they’d much rather have him fit, than not.

“When he plays, people see what he gives off the ball, he helps Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané play well because of his hard work.

“Diogo Jota has come in and performed incredibly well, but it’s a different dynamic up top when Jota plays. He’s a different type of player to Roberto Firmino.

“But Liverpool still also have the likes of Divock Origi who came off the bench and scored against West Ham.

“The dynamic of the team will change in his absence, the way they play will be different, but they might also carry a bigger threat going forward too because Jota likes running beyond defenders to get in the box too.

“Liverpool have more than enough to cope without Roberto though.”