Leicester City’s recent decision to recall Harvey Barnes from West Bromwich Albion represented a hammer blow to the Baggies promotion ambitions, but with Liverpool still seemingly short of an attacking midfielder he should be firmly on Jurgen Klopp’s radar for the remainder of the season.
The Baggies faithful weren’t quite sure what to expect of Barnes when he arrived at the club in the summer but he wasted little time in impressing at the Hawthorns.
An electric opening was maintained up until the new year, and with Leicester City struggling for creativity in midfield beyond James Maddison they decided to recall him from his season-long loan, much to the dismay of their promotion hunting rivals.
Much like Maddison was at Norwich, Barnes was a class above in the Championship regardless of whether he was playing in a number ten role or on the left-wing, and he left the club with a fantastic return of nine goals and six assists from 26 appearances.
Maddison finished the 2017/18 Championship campaign with 14 goals and eight assists from 44 appearances, so if Barnes continued to score and assist at the rate he managed at West Brom there’s no doubt he would have matched that return by the end of the season.
While it’s too early to say with absolute certainty that Barnes is destined to thrive in the top-flight, a quick look at Maddison’s seamless transition from Championship to Premier League football suggests he could be set to follow in his footsteps in 2019.
Maddison has blossomed into one of the most promising midfielders in the division, boasting a set of attributes and a touch of swagger which hints he can eventually earn a move to one of the top-six clubs, and his performances this season hint that Liverpool would have been wise to sign him last summer.
The proverbial ship has sailed now, though, and the Reds would have to pay a premium price to lure Maddison away from the King Power Stadium, but with 21-year-old Barnes still relatively unproven at this level Liverpool should be able to sign him at an attractive price.
The form of Leicester’s new crown jewel has shifted perceptions regarding the credentials of Championship players hoping to make the step up to the top-flight, and Maddison’s success story should convince Liverpool to take a closer look at a player who has the potential to emulate his teammate moving forward.
Capable of offering an alternative option to Sadio Mane in the event of injury, suspension or simply to add healthy competition, as well as providing another option in a number ten role, Barnes could be a fantastic option for Liverpool in the summer.
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