John Barnes says Liverpool are lacking in quality

A distinct lack of quality! Barnes claims Liverpool need at least three world-class players

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UPDATED:

22:41 GMT, 29 March 2012

Liverpool legend John Barnes believes the club need three 'world-class' attacking players at least if they are to put themselves in the title frame next season.

The Reds' already disappointing Barclays Premier League campaign has run aground in the past two months with five defeats in the last six games.

In that time the club have won the Carling Cup but league form is threatening to take the shine off that achievement for some fans.

Good enough Liverpool and Stewart Downing have struggled this season

Good enough Liverpool and Stewart Downing have struggled this season

Barnes, speaking at the Soccerex forum in Manchester, said: 'How many of these Liverpool players would get in any of the other top teams I think they have a distinct lack of quality.

'For the last five or six years I have always said Liverpool need to buy players to go into the first team.

'Not squad players who you are going to rotate – I think we need three players, all attacking players who aren't going to be rotated.

'Three world-class players, shall we say, to go straight into the team and supplement (Steven) Gerrard and (Luis) Suarez.'

Barnes, however, is not critical of manager Kenny Dalglish and believes his former boss has been unlucky with some of his signings.

The 48-year-old, one of the flagship signings of Dalglish's first spell in charge, believes the Anfield chief identified some good players but has not seen them deliver.

Improvement: John Barnes knows Liverpool need better players for a shot at the title

Improvement: John Barnes knows Liverpool need better players for a shot at the title

Barnes said: 'When I went to Liverpool I had 30 England caps and six years at Watford. Peter Beardsley had five years at Newcastle and 25 England caps.

'It is not just Liverpool, but it seems these days you have one good season and then you are catapulted into a big team, who have to spend big money on you.

'Andy Carroll has had one year at Newcastle, Jordan Henderson one year at Sunderland. They are unproven.

'Hopefully in the future they will be consistent but at the moment the jury is out.

'It hasn't worked out but I am still hopeful for the future.'

Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson, who was involved in the same discussion, is surprised more of the likes of Carroll, Henderson, Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing have not yet proved major successes.

Quality: Luis Suarez (centre) and Steven Gerrard (right) are good enough, according to Barnes

Quality: Luis Suarez (centre) and Steven Gerrard (right) are good enough, according to Barnes

The European Cup winner said: “Have all our signings done well No they haven't – and you wouldn't have imagined with all the players we signed, that so many would find it difficult to actually settle at the club.

'I don't think Kenny would have thought that, of all the signings he made, particularly last summer, the majority of them wouldn't have succeeded.

'He signed them all for the right reasons and I agree it is for the future, but you need most of it for now.

'Liverpool is different from other clubs because of the expectation week after week.

'To be a success you have to do it five out of six weeks and the lads haven't got into that mode yet.'

When asked how good the team were, Thompson said: 'Average. There are a lot of good players but they haven't done it.'