Liverpool have gone in for defenders Tiago Ilori and Aly Cissokho, as Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen at the back ahead of a tough run of fixtures in the Premier League.
The Reds – who are 6/4 to get back into the Champions League with a top-four finish this season – kicked off their 2013/2014 campaign with a 1-0 win against Stoke City at Anfield, but with a trip to Arsenal’s opening day-conquerors Aston Villa up next followed by a home tie against bitter rivals Manchester United, Rodgers knows he has to bring in reinforcements in defence.
Jamie Carragher’s move to the relative comfort of the Sky Sports studio – and the perceived lack of faith in Sebastian Coates and Martin Skrtel at centre-half – leaves only Daniel Agger and 32-year-old summer signing from Manchester City Kolo Toure to choose from, in front of Simon Mignolet in goal and Rodgers has been working on targets in the position all summer.
21-year-old Schalke stopper Kyriakos Papadopoulos was thought to be top of the list, but concerns about the Greek international’s dodgy knees have put Liverpool off paying a hefty £12m fee and have instead turned their attentions to Portuguese youth Ilori as a cheaper alternative.
The 20-year-old has only made 12 league appearances since making his Primeira Liga debut nearly two years ago, but the six-foot-three-inch defender is being tipped for full international honours already and the Merseyside club are ready to tempt Sporting with a £3m bid to secure his services.
French international Cissokho is expected to arrive at Anfield on a year-long loan deal from Valencia – subject to a medical – with the former Lyon man brought in to compete with Jose Enrique at left-back.