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Former Reds' winger feels the lack of first-team experience has led criticism of the former Sunderland and Newcastle youngsters who cost a combined £51 million

John Barnes believes a lack of first-team experience is to blame for the criticism aimed at Liverpool pair Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson this season.

The duo cost the Merseyside outfit a combined fee of £51million and they are now being questioned over their ability to perform in the Reds' starting line up.

The former Liverpool player also made it clear that the Anfield side have relied too heavily on Steven Gerrard in the past.

“The mark of a good side is winning the league. You can win the cup because you've played five games and, depending on who you draw, you can get an easy draw," Barnes said speaking at Soccerex's European Forum in Manchester.

"If you look at Liverpool now, for example, Liverpool have relied too heavily on [Steven] Gerrard and [Fernando] Torres in the past. Now they rely on Gerrard and [Luis] Suarez. If you look at the players that now go there, you've got to talk about Carroll and Henderson, for example.

"I had 30 England caps and played six years at Watford before I went to Liverpool. Peter Beardsley - the most expensive player [at the time] - five years at Newcastle and 25 England caps.”

Former Newcastle United player Carroll has failed to live up to the expectations of his £35million price tag and Henderson has failed to adapt this season, often being deployed in a right-wing role.  

Barnes believes Liverpool are not the only club signing unproven talent after one season but feels until the pair show more consistency the jury is out.

“Not just [at] Liverpool, it seems these days you have one season and all of a sudden you're catapulted into a big team and they have to spend big money on you,” he added.

“Andy Carroll's had one year at Newcastle [and] Jordan Henderson, one year at Sunderland, are unproven. We don't know whether they'll be consistent. Hopefully in the future they will be consistent but, at this moment in time, the jury is out.” 

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