Joey Barton has a lot more free time on his hands this season.
Serving an FA ban due to his misconduct charge with relation to betting, a club-less Barton was speaking to Talksport radio today ahead of Liverpool's opening Premier League fixture against Watford.
Typically forthright, Barton's broadside was aimed squarely at Liverpool's manager, Jurgen Klopp:
I'm not buying this Klopp aura, that Jurgen Klopp is a "super coach", his career doesn't point that way.
Conceding that Klopp appears "a down to earth, nice guy", Barton worries about the effect his "prancing up and down the touchline [has for Liverpool]. He is like a giant German cheerleader for them!"
Mistakenly claiming that Klopp had only won a single league title (it's actually two), Barton goes on to suggest that the initial positivity Klopp brought to Liverpool's play has ultimately been found out:
He had a great season last season against the top seven – phenomenal – but where you step up and win the Premier League is against the bottom 13. Against the bottom 13, he lost six games. Why? Because teams sit in and say "we are not going to chase you down, harass you, you can have the ball in a certain area of the park and we are going to sit back and counter you", which is what Liverpool have done.
With Barton certain that Philippe Coutinho will leave Liverpool amid Barcelona's interest, he doesn't hold much hope for Klopp or Liverpool should they lose their "magician".