By 90Min
August 22, 2017

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has backed his former club to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho in what remains of the summer transfer window after Barcelona's desperate attempts to prise him away, but believes that Sadio Mane is potentially a more important part of the team.

Speaking in his usual role as a pundit on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Carragher suggested that a better transfer window might have seen Liverpool actually relax their stance on Coutinho, but the failure to sign Virgil van Dijk or Naby Keita have ensured politics and saving face rather than good business have won out.

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"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," the retired defender explained.

"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.

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"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."

As for the fit-again Mane, who scored the winner against Crystal Palace at the weekend as the Reds claimed their first Premier League victory of the new season, Carragher see him as vital.

"I'd make an argument for that, especially with the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play. I think he's massively important," came the explanation.

"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," he added.

"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."

Mane scored 13 goals for Liverpool last season in a campaign that was disrupted by injury and international commitments with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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