Well, I agree, but not for the reason that you stated. To be able to add and remove nodes everywhere, a linked list is self-referencing. Pointers are the implementation tool you have for that. The way pointers work is independent from that. But seeing a practical use of indirection helps explain why you need it. People also get practice dealing with indirection, so they learn what is required of them.
In my opinion, although this depends on aptitude, the linked list data structure also helps you establish abstract thinking that you need to understand what pointers do. It's reasonable to assume that you don't understand what a pointer does until you can see pointees and arrows with your mind's eye.