• Jamie Carragher believes the Senegal forward is more important to the Reds than Coutinho.
  • Barcelona have ended their interest in signing the Brazil international after final £118m offer.
  • But Carragher says Coutinho only stayed because of club's "poor" transfer window activity.

Liverpool have been forewarned to expect interest from rival clubs in forward Sadio Mane, who has been a "revelation" since arriving at Anfield according to Jamie Carragher. The Senegal international has scored 15 goals and made eight assists in 32 appearances in all competitions since joining from Southampton in the summer of 2016 - a period which has included spells at the Africa Cup of Nations and out injured.

The 25-year-old has transformed into one of Jurgen Klopp's most important players and in the absence of the injured Philippe Coutinho, amid speculation regarding his future on Merseyside, has led the Reds attack this term in the Premier League and the Champions League. He has wasted little time opening his account for the new campaign, with goals in the domestic openers against Watford and Crystal Palace.

Mane is braced to be joined by Coutinho in the Liverpool team with the Brazil international now set to stay after Barcelona's deadline for their latest £118m offer to be accepted passed over the weekend. The news ends months of speculation but according to Carragher, Klopp's side could be set for another transfer saga should Mane continue his improvement.

"I'd make an argument for that, especially with the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play [that Mane is more important than Coutinho]. I think he's massively important," he told 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 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."

Klopp has brought in just three new players this summer in the form of Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke and Andrew Robertson with deals for a string of players yet to be completed. The likes of Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk have been linked with Liverpool yet the perception remains that the club remain low on resources ahead of the transfer window slamming shut on 31 August.

Carragher feels that the only reason Liverpool have kept such a strong stance on Coutinho is due to their own issues in the market which has seen them fail to sufficiently improve their squad.

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," he 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."

Sadio Mane
Mane and Coutinho have struck up a fine partnership - but could that be broken in the future? Getty Images