‘Coutinho could’ve been the greatest’ – Barnes hoping Mane stays at Liverpool to secure legendary status

Philippe Coutinho Sadio Mane
The legendary former Reds midfielder believes a star of the present can become an all-time great at Anfield if he ignores any interest shown from afar

Philippe Coutinho “was going to be the greatest” at Liverpool before he went chasing the dream at Barcelona, says John Barnes, with Sadio Mane urged against taking a similar career path.

A Senegalese star continues to generate transfer talk on the back of his stunning achievements on Merseyside.

The Champions League and Premier League title winner has become a model of consistency for the Reds, earning himself a standing among the global elite in the process.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are said to be among Mane’s many suitors, with it suggested that he may be tempted to take on a new challenge in Spain after hitting so many targets in England.

Barnes hopes the 28-year-old forward – who has hit 83 goals through 173 appearances for Liverpool – can be convinced to stay put, allowing him to cement a reputation as an all-time great at Anfield.

A man who already falls into that category told BonusCodeBets of a modern-day fan favourite: “Philippe Coutinho was going to be the greatest, but then he left after five years.

“The only way players will be regarded as the one of the best Liverpool players, is if they stay at the club for a long period of time.

“I hope Sadio Mane does that, he’s been terrific since his transfer from Southampton in 2016.”

Barnes added: “If Fernando Torres or Luis Suarez were at Liverpool for 10 years, they would both have been in the Liverpool all-time XI.

“If Sadie Mane is going to stay for a prolonged period of time performing at a high level, then of course he can get into the all-time Liverpool XI.

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“He is a phenomenally good player with outstanding ability and could definitely project himself into legendary status at Anfield if he keeps it consistent with the high-class performances.”

Mane bagged a brace on his most recent outing for Liverpool, as the defending Premier League champions downed 10-man Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Jamie Carragher claimed on the back of that fixture that a man following in Barnes’ footsteps can go on to become a “god”, with stunning standards being set by a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans.