9 Nov 2016

Legend raves: 'Fantastic' £43m Liverpool sensation is more important than 'Coutinho and Lallana'. Agree?

Who is Liverpool's most important player? According to Reds legend Gary Gillespie, there's only one choice.

When asked the question yesterday, Gillespie told the BBC:

“Mane, because he has pace and ability to beat people. He stretches the game, [and] none of the other ones do that. You have Coutinho who, when he is playing poorly, has too many touches. Lallana is the same. Mane will be a big loss when he goes to the AFCON.”

In my view, the hype over Mane - hailed as 'fantastic' by Philippe Coutinho - is spiralling out of control. Yes, he's had a good start at the club, but I dispute that he is Liverpool's most important player.

For me, Coutinho takes that mantle this season, mainly due to the fact he has more goals/assists overall, and a better mins-per-goal/assist ratio (One every 75 mins vs one every 96 mins for Mane). Clearly, the player who scores/creates goals most frequently is, de facto, the team's most important attacking player.

I also don't believe that Mane will be missed as much as Gillespie thinks. The beauty of Klopp's Liverpool is that the team is no longer reliant on just one or two players; the attacking burden is shared amongst lots of different players, and when Mane goes to the AFCON, the Reds will have Daniel Sturridge to fill the void, as well as (fitness permitting) Coutinho, Firmino, and a rejuvenated Adam Lallana.

The Liverpool squad is set-up to cover the absence of Mane (or indeed any individual) and that's the way it should be.

* £43m-rated (CIES Football Observatory).

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