Liverpool should sign Chelsea outcast Diego Costa and Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk if Philippe Coutinho leaves for Barcelona, according to former England international Stuart Pearce.

The Merseysiders have no interest in parting with Coutinho this summer and have rejected three bids from Barca, who were hoping to use the funds received from the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain on the Brazilian and Borussia Dortmund attacker Ousmane Dembele, who has since been punished for his recent behaviour by the German outfit.

Coutinho has made his desire to join Barcelona abundantly clear in recent weeks and submitted a transfer request in the hope of accelerating a move to the Camp Nou, but Liverpool, who have been involved in a number of transfer sagas this summer, are refusing to budge over their coveted playmaker.

A deal to bring to Coutinho to Barcelona now looks unlikely with just nine days of the transfer window remaining, but Pearce, who made around 750 appearances during his 24-year playing career, says Liverpool should "make a statement" by signing Costa and Van Dijk if they experience a change of heart over Coutinho.

"They go and get [Diego] Costa from Chelsea and [Virgil] Van Dijk from Southampton," Pearce was quoted as saying by The Express. "Balance the books accordingly. You have to make a statement.

"I think Liverpool fans are very patient and understanding, I think if you're talking in excess of £100m for this player and he wants to go, I'd be tempted to take the money and wish him all the best."

A deal for Chelsea's Costa is rather unlikely, but a move for Van Dijk is not beyond the realms of possibility. Costa, 28, has made no secret of his desire to return to Atletico Madrid, and Diego Simeone's men are believed to have agreed a fee of around €45m (£41.1m) for the Spain international, who is refusing to return to Chelsea's training complex.

Southampton captain Van Dijk, valued at £60m by Mauricio Pellegrino's side, submitted a transfer request earlier this summer and told of his frustration over multiple offers for his services being 'rebuffed' by the Saints.

Liverpool remain interested in Van Dijk, who has designs on working under Klopp, but their pursuit of the Holland international came to an abrupt end in June after Southampton were left fuming by what they perceived as 'tapping up' by the Reds.

Liverpool apologised both publicly and privately to Southampton and are acting carefully to avoid punishment from the FA. As a result of their apparent concern, the Reds will not submit an offer for Van Dijk, who has five years left on his current deal in Hampshire, unless Southampton make it clear they are willing to sell.

Diego Costa
Pearce thinks Liverpool should consider drafting Costa in if they do sell Coutinho. Getty