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I’m an ex-Premier League star… my son’s mates all say I’m c**p but I’ll do anything to spoil Liverpool’s FA Cup party

ASHLEY BARNES wants to see Jurgen Klopp explode with rage on the touchline at Anfield — again.

The Norwich striker ended Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten home Premier League run in January 2021 by scoring a late penalty for Burnley.

Ashley Barnes is hoping to end Liverpool's FA Cup hopes today

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Ashley Barnes is hoping to end Liverpool’s FA Cup hopes todayCredit: Getty

In a stormy clash, Klopp chased Sean Dyche down the tunnel at half-time as the Reds boss was angry with the visitors’ tactics.

And now Barnes is hoping to ensure today will be Klopp’s last ever FA Cup match.

When announcing his decision to quit Liverpool at the end of the season, Klopp insisted he would never manage another team in this country.

Barnes, who has promised to once again ruffle some feathers on  Merseyside, said: “When you play the big teams, you always know it will be difficult.

“You might not have much of the ball and you have to find a way to win and luckily we did that with Burnley three years ago. We had to be as ugly as possible and we won a late penalty and I converted it.

“It was a pure battle. We had to make it quite scrappy.

“It is something they didn’t want but they were getting properly involved, fouling us like no tomorrow and Klopp was not impressed.

“I don’t think he was happy with the time-wasting and we were doing all the dirty tactics and he did not see the funny side.

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Ashley Barnes ended Liverpool's unbeaten run at Anfield three years ago

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Ashley Barnes ended Liverpool’s unbeaten run at Anfield three years agoCredit: AFP
The striker wants to inflict more misery on the Reds today

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The striker wants to inflict more misery on the Reds todayCredit: Reuters

“Before half-time, Fabinho and I had a little tussle and I won a foul.

“Klopp was complaining and the two managers were going down the tunnel going after each other. It was quite nice as we won.

“They had managed a long run of not losing and then came into a game against Burnley thinking they’d walk all over us and we thought that was not going to happen.

“We’re now going to have the same approach to do that on Sunday. You can play nice football, be too nice to them and it can be too friendly. It has to be war.

“We might be ‘little old Norwich from the Championship’ but hopefully we go and cause an upset.”

A huge smile appeared on Barnes’ face when asked whether he revels in this role as a wind-up merchant.

He said: “I thrive off it. I am like Marmite. You either love me or hate me. It has been like this my whole career.

“If I get involved in a battle, I love it. If it takes the pressure and noise away from everyone else, then good.

“My son Flynn watches my games and says ‘dad, what were you saying there?’ I say ‘sorry mate, I cannot repeat it.’

“He has all his mates who call me crap and stuff. He says ‘dad, all my mates say that you are rubbish’.

“He then says I cannot do this or that on the pitch. He also tells me what celebrations to do.

“I’m like ‘sorry I am not good enough for that. I am a bog-standard player and that is all you will get’.

“You won’t get the flair or lots of tricks from me. I will leave that to the rest of the boys here at Norwich but the one thing you will get from me is 110 per cent every game.

“I will graft until the cows come home and, to be fair, the lads have been seeing that since I have been back from an injury.”

A free transfer at Norwich after more than nine years at Turf Moor, Barnes is a refreshing throwback in terms of a player who actually has a bit of personality even if it lands him in hot water.

The 34-year-old was charged by the FA last term when, after scoring for Burnley against neighbours Blackburn, he said: “Every goal is special, but to score against the b******* is amazing.”

Equally, Barnes accepts his tally of four goals in 23 appearances for Norwich needs to improve but insists he is a dying breed of forwards who are judged on their contribution to the team.

He said: “Everyone wants strikers to score nice goals but it is not just about the goals, it is about the team.

“It was drummed into me at a young age by the old ones that ‘you have to  run around because I have a bill to pay’. It was about working hard and working hard as a team.

“You get individual credit for scoring goals and goalkeeper or even defenders get clean sheet bonuses but for me, the team comes first.

“You might have to be ugly. I’d say this all comes from Sean Dyche.”
Barnes knows his entire team must deliver something special today if they are to somehow beat their  quadruple-chasing opponents.

He added: “You have to hold your hands up and admit they will be better players than yourself.

“They can make you feel you are doing well with the ball but with one press, they all come at you like red arrows and you think ‘oh no’.

“It can be frightening but you have to take the fear away.”

Jurgen Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the season

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Jurgen Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the seasonCredit: PA

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