Kylian Mbappe is a “fantastic player” but “not Liverpool’s answer” unless he can fill in at centre-half, says John Barnes.
The Reds are said to have positioned themselves among the clutch of clubs plotting big-money approaches for a World Cup winner once an exit door swings open at Paris Saint-Germain.
Barnes can appreciate why Jurgen Klopp would be keen on one of the most exciting forwards in world football, but he cannot see a deal being done any time soon.
The Reds legend told BonusCodeBets, with defensive additions a priority at present as Liverpool manage their way through an injury crisis: “Mbappe is a fantastic player but forward areas are not a position that Liverpool need strengthening in, but if he can play centre-back they should get him in January!
“If Liverpool tail away and finish lower down the table, he won’t come to Liverpool - so they should worry about this season.
“If there is a possibility of getting him in January then you could go and get him, but there isn’t. Short term, Mbappe is not Liverpool’s answer. Liverpool are strong in attacking positions and have huge depth in midfield, but the centre-back position is the one that really needs addressing.
“What Liverpool want are hungry players, regardless of whether they are top players or not - the success of the club is the most important thing.
“If someone comes in and upsets the apple cart and wants to be more important than anybody else - like Neymar for example, who is one of the best players in the world but who wouldn’t suit Liverpool - it could destabilise the group’s respect and harmony.
“Signing the best players works at teams like Real Madrid where they like these Galacticos that are above other team-mates, but for Liverpool this would not work, they’re more cautious.”
Barnes has previously stated that he sees no reason for Liverpool to spend on another centre-half for the sake of it in January, but a three-match winless run has all of those at Anfield reassessing their options.
“Long term, Liverpool need better quality in defensive areas,” added Barnes.
“They also need Jordan Henderson playing in midfield. Liverpool need a stop-gap defender - they’re probably not going to get the best centre-back in the world in January as that is not always the best time to buy and the best players are in the Champions League for their clubs.
“Liverpool need a centre-back, but they won’t get one for £60m who is going to come and play alongside Van Dijk when he’s fit.
“It is clear they need numbers in defensive positions because influential midfield players, Henderson and Fabinho, are playing in defence and you would much rather have them in midfield and getting a centre-back will allow them to go back to their proper positions and that has more to do with why they lost against Southampton.
“A centre-back will strengthen Liverpool and give them more of an opportunity to win the league, but I don’t think it is the deciding factor. Players coming back into the team that allow Henderson and Fabinho to play in the midfield will be used, so they can still win the title without signing another centre-back.”