Gerrard urges Reds to bid for Barry
The Reds skipper admitted the next batch of signings made by Rafael Benitez will be crucial if they are to finally overhaul Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title next season. Gerrard issued the "come and join us" plea to Barry during England's end-of-season trip to Trinidad 12 months ago only for Liverpool to stall on meeting Villa's £18million asking price. Now Barry is about to enter the final year of his current contract with speculation again already rife over his future. And Gerrard is hoping he will finally get the opportunity at club level to reunite the partnership that has flourished under Fabio Capello ahead of the World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan on Saturday. Gerrard said: "Would I still like to see Gareth Barry join Liverpool? Yes. He is a top player. Top players improve your team and squad. He is a Liverpool type of player. "He is very clever but he is still an Aston Villa player and I don't want to disrespect Martin O'Neill. If it happens, then great. "If it doesn't, hopefully we get players in of Gareth's standard. "When you watch Villa, Gareth is their main man, their captain, their leader. He scores good goals, creates chances. I've enjoyed working with him at England. "He is English and you need English players at your club now." Gerrard admits he is hurting at Liverpool's failure to win a trophy during the 2008-2009 campaign but believes a few more quality players could end the wait to take the Premier League title. He said: "Has the season been a success or failure at club level? I think failure is a bit strong but you've got to be realistic and look at the big picture. "We've finished the season without a trophy which hurts. But from a Liverpool point of view, a lot of progress has been made. "We are getting really close to becoming champions. Our next two or three signings as far as we are concerned are crucial to push on and try and go one better than this year. "I am certainly not sitting here proud of not winning a trophy." In addition to Barry, Gerrard would like more players to arrive of the quality of striker Fernando Torres at Liverpool. He said: "How do we go to the next step? Get more players of Torres' level. He is a massive player for us. You saw the impact he made in his first season and how good he has been when fit this year. "If we can keep Torres fit, and had a little bit more quality to our squad, we can become champions. "Manchester United won the league because they had that spark coming off the bench, that little bit more strength in depth." Gerrard is also confident that his former Liverpool colleague and close friend Michael Owen could still have an England future. Owen has been overlooked by Capello after an injury-hit spell at Newcastle. Gerrard said: "I'm a big fan of Michael Owen, a good friend of his. I'd love to see him get a move from Newcastle to a big club and get his England career back on track. "I do believe he can play for England again. He has suffered a lot with injuries for the past couple of years but I believe a fit Michael Owen has got the ability to be involved in the squad. "I'm sure he will be desperate to get back playing football again, staying fit and scoring goals. That is what he loves doing."
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