Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that Sadio Mane is more important to the club than in-demand midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian playmaker has been the subject of two bids from Barcelona this summer, with the Reds rejecting a massive offer of £114 million last week.
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Mane scored the winning goal for the Reds last weekend as they defeated Crystal Palace 1-0, with Coutinho absent from the squad, and Carragher believes that the Senegal international, who scores a goal, on average, every 193 minutes, is more integral to the way the Reds play.
“I’d make an argument for that, especially with the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play. I think he’s massively important,” he said on Sky Sports.
“You see the goals that he’s got and his goals record for a wide player is phenomenal since he’s come to the club.
“All the other players on the list (players with the best minutes per goal ratio) are top strikers in the Premier League. For Mane to be there, it shows his impact.
“If you compare him to Coutinho, who is a fantastic player which is why Barcelona want him, but if he carries on the way he is going, the top clubs around Europe will be looking at him because he has been a revelation since he came in.”
Liverpool appear to have successfully fended off Barca’s advances in regards to Coutinho, but Carragher believes that his former employers have endured a difficult transfer window.
Indeed, the club have failed to secure top targets Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita from Souhampton and RB Leipzig respectively, with only Mohamed Salah, Andrew Robertson and Dominic Solanke recruited thus far.
“They will hang onto Coutinho now, of course. I don’t think there is any doubt now. I said a few weeks ago that they can’t sell him, but the problem is it becomes more political rather than the business of it,” Carragher added.
“Liverpool have had such a poor window, they couldn’t be seen to be letting go of him. Now if Liverpool three big targets of Virgil Van Dijk, Naby Keita and Mo Salah had all come in the door, it may have been easier to prise him away.
“Even a supporter might have thought ‘120m for Coutinho?’ with the ability to go and spend that with a few weeks of the season to go, but they were never going to sell him because of the fact they had not bought enough players in.”