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Saturday 25 March 2017

Barnes backs Rafa to lead Reds to recovery

Rafa Benitez. Photo: Getty Images
Rafa Benitez. Photo: Getty Images

Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes has backed manager Rafael Benitez to bring success back to the club after a season of underachievement.

The Reds finished seventh, their worst Barclays Premier League position for 11 years, and suffered early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup.



There has been widespread speculation about Benitez's future but Barnes said it would make no sense in changing the manager at this point.



"I'm a Rafa supporter and believe he is the right man to be at Liverpool," said the ex-England winger, who won two league championships and two FA Cups during his 10-year spell at Anfield.



"Liverpool is a club now without any money. Why change the manager?



"What's a new manager going to do without any money? If a new manager comes in to work with the same players is that the way to improve?"



Barnes, who scored 108 goals in 407 appearances for Liverpool, said things had to be put in perspective and this season should be viewed as a blip rather than a sign of terminal decline - a defence put forward by Benitez himself.



"We underachieved in terms of finishing seventh this season," Barnes told the Liverpool Echo.



"We overachieved by coming second the year before. But if there's no investment I can't see the point in changing the manager at all.



"Rafa is a good coach. He's a good manager. He's proven it in the past and I believe he will do so in the future.



"Hopefully he will be able to bring some new players in this summer. We need more players, we need more quality."

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