John Barnes has praised the impact of several key players on Liverpool's unbeaten start to the Premier League season, ahead of the Reds' clash with Watford on Saturday.

Barnes spent ten years with Liverpool between 1987 and 1997, winning two league titles and several other trophies. Many fans are excited at the current side's chances of similar success this season, with the Reds currently sitting in second place in the league and yet to taste defeat in the competition.


John Barnes, speaking exclusively to bookmaker comparison platform, praised several of Liverpool's stars for helping improve the side. He said: "The main difference for Liverpool has been defensively, Virgil van Djik coming in last year has massively helped the defence. 

"Laporte and Stones have had great seasons, but for me Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the Premier League. He’s the reason why Liverpool are keeping up with Manchester City this season.


“The keeper coming in has given everyone a real confidence boost. It’s been interesting to see the fans being more reassured and measured with this keeper, last season people would hold their breath at corners. But there is a confidence this year.

“There’s a better balance to the team than last season. Yes, they’re not steamrolling teams in the same way, but they’re winning games 1-0 and that’s down to the defensive signings they made in the summer.

Firmino is the most important player in that Liverpool team, more so than Salah and Mane. I really like him and think he is crucial to linking up the play of the team”

Barnes then went on to praise Joe Gomez, after the 21-year-old emerged into a regular starter under Jurgen Klopp. He said: “One of the most underrated players in the Premier League. He’s learning from one of the best defenders in the world and keeps improving, game after game.

“If England play a back five then he absolutely should be starting for me. Maguire and Stones just about pip him for an automatic place in a four-man defence.”


Finally, Barnes discussed Watford's current form. He claimed that, despite their improved form this season, the Hornets are a similar side to last year.

He said: “In spite of the perceived success of the Watford team this season, there is no real difference with Watford this year compared to last year, they always start well and consistently before Christmas. It’s after the Christmas break where they traditionally struggle. 

“There is more stability this year, I like the manager and think he brings a good balance to the team. They should be aiming for a top ten finish as a minimum – although I don’t think they’re good enough for European football.”