Liverpool and Watford legend John Barnes has backed the Reds to push Manchester City all the way in the Premier League this season, predicting that Jurgen Klopp's side will beat the reigning champions at Anfield next month.
Speaking to 90min after teaming up with Drinkaware to raise awareness of their new Drink Free Days campaign, Barnes also weighed in on the Hornets' 100% start to the season - warning fans that a fast start hasn't historically produced long-term gains.
"It’s four games. It’s four games. If you look at Watford last year, they started well. They have done for the last two or three years, so I never get carried away, positively or negatively. Regardless, if a team's not doing particularly well and you think what’s happened there? Leicester continued all the way through and won the league, and I don’t know if Watford are going to do that, but it’s been a fantastic start and long may it continue."
Speaking about Drinkaware's campaign with Public Health England, Barnes explained: "They've teamed up to start this campaign, just to help to encourage people to drink less - and having drink free days. The problem you have is obviously a lot of people drink out of boredom. We’re not talking about people who are alcoholics and stuff like that, just people who, you know, you’re at home, you’ve got nothing to do, you’ll have the odd glass of wine.
"If you got more active though - you went for a walk, took the dog for a walk, joined a gym - then you wouldn’t do it, because of course you can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and stuff like that. So it’s just targeting people who drink, but not heavy drinkers, to just say you can be more healthy if you just do it.
"One way of doing it is - yes to cut down - just having two or three drink free days where you don’t drink. Obviously we’re not saying that when you’re drinking, get smashed - but it will help by just having drink free days."
Are you finding it hard to cut back on alcohol? You're not alone.— drinkaware (@Drinkaware) September 10, 2018
We're working with @PHE_UK on the exciting #DrinkFreeDays campaign to help people cut back and reduce their risk of serious potentially life limiting diseases.
More info and help here: https://t.co/EDtcAIIraV pic.twitter.com/3QOeYggt8c
Moving back to the season's on-field action, he added: "I’m getting more carried away with Liverpool this year than I have done in the past. I think they’ll be City’s biggest rivals, I still think City will win the league, I think Liverpool will push them hard and finish second.
"In the past I’ve always been confident with Liverpool playing against City, or Arsenal, or Tottenham or the big teams, the problems have been when we play the smaller teams. This year we’ve beaten the smaller teams even when we’ve not played well, like against Leicester, which is a good sign.
"I’m not concerned about us beating City, I’m not even concerned with us beating City and thinking 'we’ve beaten City so we’re going to win the league'. We have to continue beating the other teams, because we know City will beat the other teams more often than not, and that’s how you win the league.
"So, yes Liverpool are playing City - even if Liverpool beat City I still think that City will be the favourites, and the way that Liverpool do play against City, I would expect them to beat City, as funny as that sounds."
After praising Klopp and co's performances thus far, he added: "For Liverpool, the most pleasing thing for me is the fact that they haven’t played well and they’re picking up points - which shows a lot of resilience, a lot of strength. That has a lot to do with the new goalkeeper, centre back giving them that security that - ‘ok, we can not play well, we know we’re not going to concede’ - so the signs are very, very good."
Bonus quickfire round:
90min: Premier League winners?
JB: City or Liverpool.
90min: Pep Guardiola or Mauricio Pochettino?
90min: Anfield Rap or World in Motion?
JB: Anfield Rap.
90min: Do you get sick of people asking you to do the World in Motion rap?
JB: I don’t get sick of anything.
90min: Best manager you’ve ever had in your career?
JB: Graham Taylor.
90min: Sergio Ramos in one word?
JB: Great player.
90min: That’s two, you cheated...
JB: Sorry. But I’d have him at Liverpool.
A lot of us are drinking more alcohol than we realise. So, we've teamed up with @Drinkaware to launch the #DrinkFreeDays #OneYou campaign. Helping people cut back on their drinking and improve their health. For information support & advice, check out: https://t.co/V34KDDGG1G pic.twitter.com/FaxIGKQaWP— Public Health England (@PHE_uk) September 10, 2018
A dedicated website provides all the information, resources and apps to help support people,including the One You Drink Free Days app and Drinkaware’s Drink Compare Calculator: www.drinkfreedays.co.uk