Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in reported British transfer fee record

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Stu Holden, Warren Barton and Kate Abdo react to the news of Philippe Coutinho leaving Liverpool after a long transfer saga.

[MUSIC PLAYING] - Uh, Liverpool, as we mentioned, starting the win-- starting the weekend with a win against Everton, a big win for them that was as well. And news just breaking from a number of credible sources as well-- and our very own Keith Costigan who is over in England at the moment confirming that, from a source within Liverpool, that Philippe Coutinho is on his way to Barcelona-- for a hefty fee as well, $180 million is what we're hearing.

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Is it the right decision for Liverpool to allow him to leave?

- Well, I think when-- when this saga was going on in the summer and everybody felt, well, Coutinho is gone. He's going to go to Barcelona. Look at the amount of money that they're offering. How do you not sell at this price? And credit to Liverpool at that point. They stuck to their guns. Ownership said they were going to keep him. They wanted to make a run in the Champions League. They're challenging for top four in the Premier League. They are one of the most exciting teams in England going forward.

Now, what does that do when you lose a Coutinho? Well, Mané has come back from injury. He perhaps can be that guy. I still think they're going to have to sign somebody else, though. Now, that's a massive amount of money. They spent money on van Dijk. But still, you're going to have to replace him somehow. So if they can do a good piece of business there, then I think this move makes sense.

- Who do you replace him with?

- I think Lallana has come back into the equation. Mohamed Salah's been sensational. So maybe--

- But if we're talking about buying somebody, who--

- Yeah. I don't think they're buying now. I think he'll wait. There's no point because you're going to pay everybody else. I mean, talking about Barcelona paying loads. Would you really think $200 million for Coutinho? I mean, he's good, but he's not that good.

- And Coutinho is not going to win you, as this squad is, the Champions League. So perhaps he's looking at we're-- we're going to get top four in the League. We're maybe buying someone heading into next season as well, and then we'll challenge for the title domestically because you might as well hand that one to Man City.

- When someone offers you that type of money and your team's doing well and you can sort of live without him-- and because he's been injured in the summer, he's back, and then he was injured again-- you're better off if you are going to do it. And I said yesterday try and keep him and let him be part of it. But it-- he's made it perfectly clear he wants to go. Sell him. Maybe keep the money. If you can maybe adjust at the moment and bring someone in. But I don't think so. I mean, if it's a holding midfield player, yeah, maybe a goalkeeper in the summer. But every time Klopp has gone out and got the players that he wants, they've been very, very good.

- But would you not be concerned that it sends the wrong message potentially to allow him to move on?

- Well--

- I think for that money.

- And also, his head was turned, though, wasn't it? I mean, even for him to keep him, there was all this saga at the beginning this season. Klopp got him on board. He performed throughout the course of the first half of the season. But when a player has made that much of a stand and then you combine that with the amount of price that-- that Barcelona are paying for him, I think it's a no brainer and you have to let him go.

- Yeah. And it's better to be done now because not only are you going to have an unhappy player. The fans will be upset in a sense. But when you look at that type of money, they know what they can build. They know Klopp's doing a good job there. So they can go forward. They've got every chance in the Champions League to go deep. Like Stu said, they're not going to win it. But they can do well. The biggest thing is to be there.

- Does their form dip, though, when he leaves?

- No. I think the players will get round and say, OK, that money's gone. As I said, Lallana comes in. They've got one or two young players that can go and perform. But they've got quality. [SOUND EFFECT]