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'Liverpool can handle title pressure' - Barnes says 'Klopp factor' will be key

14:18 GMT+3 31/01/2019
Mohamed Salah Liverpool Leicester
The former Reds star considers a midweek draw with Leicester to be "a point gained" and is expecting many more twists and turns to come

Liverpool can “handle the pressure” of a Premier League title race, says John Barnes, with “the Jurgen Klopp factor” set to be key as they chase down a first crown in 29 years.

The Reds remain in control of their own destiny as they seek to bring an end to a wait for top-flight glory which has spanned almost three decades.

They currently hold a five-point lead at the summit, although Liverpool missed the chance to pull seven clear on Wednesday after playing out a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester.

It has been suggested that a stalemate at Anfield, which came 24 hours after defending champions Manchester City suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Newcastle, showed signs of nerves.

However Barnes, who won two titles with Liverpool in his playing days, does not agree.

He considers the result against the Foxes to be “a point gained” and expects many more twists and turns to be taken in over the coming weeks.

The Reds legend told talkSPORT: “It’s not all doom and gloom.

“It was great opportunity to go seven points clear, but we’ve added another point.

“It’s only January and teams, including Liverpool and Manchester City, will drop more points. We’re not going to have another situation like last year where City went so far ahead of everybody else and didn’t drop points.

“Liverpool drawing against a struggling Leicester team, City losing to a struggling Newcastle team – this happens in the Premier League.

“So I’d rather see this as a point gained. Yes, it’s an opportunity lost to go seven clear, but we’re one point further ahead.”

Barnes added on the demands of leading a title chase: “The pressure isn’t necessary going to show now, there’s still a long way to go.

“The pressure really comes into focus around March.

“But I think the Jurgen Klopp factor is very important – he really takes every game as it comes, the pressure is to perform in every game, he puts demands on those players to give 100 per cent every time. So I think they’re able to handle the pressure.”

Liverpool, who have suffered just one defeat in 24 Premier League games this season, will be back in action on Monday when they travel to the London Stadium to take on West Ham.