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In terms of outrageous ability on the ball, what he brought to the team and his contribution to the Liverpool—and wider football—cause, John Barnes can be crowned Liverpool's best-ever footballer.
Once Digger had hold of the ball, there was simply no getting it back off him if you were on the opposition side; at least not until you picked the ball out of the net after one of his searing shots or trademark bursts down the wing and crosses for a teammate.
Barnes arrived in 1987 and slotted straight into the best team in the land, bringing a pace, energy and level of skill surpassed by friend or foe. Not only that, but he, along with a few other big names around the top flight, helped to overcome the stigma of black footballers playing professional football and the racial abuse they had been subjected to.
The Reds' left winger was untouchable; whether he chose to run with the ball at his feet, pass to a teammate or head directly for goal, he was a simply unstoppable force. Player of the Year accolades and a league title came his way after the very first season; an FA Cup winners' medal quickly followed the next, and another league title the next.
After injury, a switch to central midfield came with Barnes no longer able to fly down the wing, instead patrolling and controlling games with his immense passing and technique on the ball. He became club captain and, though the trophies dried up as Liverpool went through a sea-change, his performances were only ever affected by injury and, eventually, age.
As fine an attacker as has ever plied his trade in the top flight of England, Barnes, Liverpool's most original No. 10, ended his Anfield career with 108 goals in 407 appearances.
Player data and stats from LiverpoolFC.com and LFCHistory.net.
Attributes and abilities of players from eras gone by researched and reproduced in good faith from similarly reputable resources.