Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has revealed that he understands why Philippe Coutinho made his way to Barcelona in January as for a South American it is a dream to be playing for the Catalan club.

However, the realisation does not make digesting the transfer any easier, with the Merseyside club left weaker by his absence. Despite the setback, Gerrard expects the Reds to move on and sign players to replace his absence on the pitch.

The Brazil international has signed a five-and-a-half year deal at the Camp Nou and according to the BBC, the La Liga leaders have agreed pay a fee of around £142m ($187m) to secure the former Inter Milan man's signature.

The 25-year-old was a transfer target for Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde in the summer. The La Liga giants made multiple approaches in their attempts to sign the versatile star, who also handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move away from Anfield. However, the Reds refused to relent but changed their minds six months later.

Jurgen Klopp is keen on strengthening his squad in the mid-season transfer window to take the steam away from Coutinho's departure and help his side progress in the Premier League and in Europe.

Liverpool have already signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, who scored the winner on his debut against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup and have been linked with Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez as Coutinho's replacement.

Gerrard believes the Reds have done everything in their power to convince Coutinho to stay and despite their failure it should not feature badly on them as it was always Coutinho's dream to move to the Spanish giants.

"I'm still digesting it as a Liverpool fan," Gerrard told BT Sport, as quoted by ESPN. "I'm not surprised by it. I know Liverpool have done everything they can to keep him and they fought very hard to keep him until the summer.

"But when a kid's got a dream, a South American, that he wants to play for Barcelona and he thinks this is the only opportunity he's going to get, then it's very difficult to stop it. There's no doubt about it, Liverpool will miss him. He's a wonderful footballer, a great person and to be fair to him he hasn't downed tools at all. I respect his decision and wish him all the best.

"Liverpool will go on. They've got big money for him and I'm sure they'll replace him with the right people."

Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho has completed a move to Barcelona in January Getty