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 By PA Sport

Ex-Liverpool stars hail 'astonishing money' from Coutinho sale

ESPN FC's Craig Burley reacts to Liverpool and Barcelona agreeing on a reported £142 million fee for the transfer of Philippe Coutinho.

Former Liverpool stars felt their old club had done decent business in netting £142 million for Barcelona-bound Philippe Coutinho.

A deal was agreed on Saturday for the Brazilian, who had made clear his desire to move to the Camp Nou in July when the Reds turned down a £118 million bid from Barca.

The fee is a British record and makes Coutinho the second most expensive footballer in history after his compatriot Neymar.

Former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson questioned the logic behind making the move midseason, given Coutinho will be ineligible for Barca in the Champions League, but still welcomed the windfall.

"It's hard to get my head around what Philippe is going to gain because he can't play Champions League football for them, they are running away with the league, and he's got the World Cup at the end of the season," Thompson said on Sky Sports.

"Will he play regularly every week at Barcelona? I'm not too sure. Philippe could have carried on (at Liverpool). He could have been playing in the Champions League.

"It's a great opportunity for him to play every week, to play at the highest level with Liverpool. So I do scratch my head wondering.

"But it's a fantastic deal. The money is quite astonishing money, which will be more than welcomed."

Ex-Reds striker Stan Collymore said Luis Suarez's move to Barca three-and-a-half years ago was much more of a loss to Liverpool, given their other attacking options in the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

He said on Twitter: "Naive that anyone thought Coutinho wouldn't go in January. 'Get your head down and if we get the right dough in Jan, you can go'. Great £ for a player many Reds would have driven to Barca for £60m a year ago. A tenth of the loss of Suarez.

"LFC attacking options are way more robust than when Suarez left, so add that fact to the contribution of Coutinho and Suarez to the team and there surely can't be any argument as to which loss is bigger and by how much? Suarez was irreplaceable!! Reds have Mane and Salah now!"

Stan Collymore said Luis Suarez's departure is a bigger loss than Philippe Coutinho.

Michael Owen was also encouraged by the strength of the rest of the Reds forward line.

He tweeted: "Sad to see Coutinho go but he's given @LFC great service and it appears to be a good deal for all parties. He will be hard to replace but there is loads of quality in the squad to push hard for the rest of the season."

Jamie Carragher urged Liverpool to spend their windfall more wisely than when they invested the Suarez money.

He tweeted: "Disappointed Coutinho has gone, never thought he'd turn into the players he's become when I first played with him, but he's been a great @LFC player these last few years. 142 million though! Just need to use the money better than we did when Suarez left!!"

Former striker John Aldridge feared Liverpool would now be forced to pay top dollar for reinforcements.

"Looks like Coutinho has gone folks €160million. Hard to get someone,unless we pay the premium,now everyone knows we've got the £££€€€," he said on Twitter.

Even those who former players who only played against Liverpool thought the Premier League side had done good business.

Joey Barton wrote: "Personally, I think Liverpool have got the better of the deal. A lot of money that for Coutinho. Makes you wonder what the likes of Kane, Hazard and Salah must be worth?"

And Frank Lampard said on BT Sport: "The player doesn't want to be there it seems, he wants to move on so it's going to happen at some stage.

"They managed to up the bid to £142m in six months, I think it was less than that in the summer, and I think Liverpool are quite flush in that area. They need to bolster around that if they're going to be a full team."

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