Graeme Souness fears the Brazilian will leave if a suitable offer is tabled, leaving the Reds in a difficult position as they seek a replacement
Philippe Coutinho will find it difficult to turn down Barcelona and Liverpool will struggle to find a replacement, says Graeme Souness.
The Brazilian playmaker has been linked with a big-money move to Camp Nou for some time now, with the transfer talk intensifying on the back of Neymar’s record-breaking €222 million switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
One offer of £72m has already been knocked back by the Reds, with Jurgen Klopp regularly stating his desire to keep Coutinho at Anfield.
Souness, though, fears that the 25-year-old will seek a switch if a suitable offer is tabled, forcing Liverpool to reluctantly sanction a sale.
The former Reds midfielder told Sky Sports News: “I don’t think you can [turn Barcelona down].
“It’s a team that would be suitable to his style of play and I don’t think he can say no to it.
“It’s hard for Liverpool to accept but if he wants to go, ultimately he will go.
“As much as the club won’t want him to go, and he’s under contract, I think ultimately if the big players want to go, they end up getting their way.”
If Coutinho does move on, then Liverpool will be left with a sizeable void to fill in their squad.
They will have money to spend, but time will be running out in the summer window and the very best of the talent will have already moved elsewhere or require some serious persuasion to join the ranks on Merseyside.
Souness added: “The problem they have is they are going to have so much money for him, wherever they go next the selling club is going to want that money, they will have to pay a premium, Liverpool.
“Is there anyone out there who could make Liverpool better? Yeah, I’m sure there’s players who can influence the football as much as Coutinho.
“Would they come to Liverpool? Not so sure, but they’re going to have a big war chest to spend.”
Liverpool have brought in Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke and Andy Robertson this summer, with Klopp admitting that he continues to keep a close eye on the market for any further additions.
His side will open their 2017-18 Premier League campaign away at Watford on Saturday.