Liverpool’s first three games this season have seen the club secure two wins and a draw, but for many a talking point has been the fact that without a player like Adam Lallana or Philippe Coutinho starting in midfield, this is a squad lacking in guile and creativity in the middle of the park.
That would seem to speak to the importance of a player like Coutinho, who appears to have accepted he will not move to Barcelona this summer and has begun to work his way towards reintegration. For former Red and sky pundit Jamie Carragher, though, he’s not the most important player the club has.
“I’d make an argument for that, especially the way Jürgen Klopp wants to play,” was his response when asked about the early season performances of winger Sadio Mané and whether he might be, if not more important, at least as important to the team as their want-away Brazilian superstar.
“Mané is massively important. Liverpool’s performance at the weekend wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, and it was a huge goal. Pressing from Solanke made a difference and how many times do we say that Mané is in the right place at the right time? For a wide player his goal record is phenomenal.”
None of which is to say that Carragher doesn’t like most think Coutinho is a phenomenal player, one Liverpool will be glad now to have back. Mané, though, has been a revelation for him since making the switch from St. Mary’s to Anfield and could be Liverpool’s real star man.
“Coutinho is a fantastic player and that’s why Barcelona want him,” Carragher added. “But if Mane carries on way he’s going all the top clubs in European football will be looking at him because he’s been a revelation since he arrived from Southampton.”