Philippe Coutinho is not as important to Liverpool as Sadio Mane according to club icon Jamie Carragher, who says the wantaway attacker will stay at the club.
Liverpool have reportedly rejected three bids from Barcelona for Coutinho, while the Brazilian is said to have handed in a transfer request at Anfield.
With Coutinho absent due to a back injury, Mane has started the new Premier League season with two goals in two games as Jurgen Klopp’s men took four points from matches against Watford and Crystal Palace.
And Carragher suggested those results indicate Coutinho is not as vital to Liverpool’s system as Mane, although both players scored 13 goals in the Premier League last season.
“I’d make an argument for that, especially with the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play. I think he’s massively important,” Carragher told Sky Sports when asked if Mane was more crucial to Liverpool than Coutinho.
“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 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.”
Coutinho’s desire to move to Barcelona leaves Liverpool in a difficult position, but after the club failed to land top transfer targets Naby Keita from RB Leipzig and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, Carragher believes the Brazilian will not be allowed to join the Catalan giants.
“They will hang on to Coutinho now, of course. I don’t think there is any doubt now,” Carragher added. “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.
“Liverpool have had such a poor window, they couldn’t be seen to be letting go of him. Now if Liverpool’s 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 window to go, but they were never going to sell him because of the fact they had not bought enough players in.”