Kenny Dalglish
Liverpool manager Kenny Daglish

Liverpool are lining up a £24m bid for Aston Villa and England striker Darren Bent, according to reports over the weekend.

The 27-year-old forward impressed during Saturday's 3-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge - scoring one and setting up the second goal for Stilian Petrov.

Bent has scored 15 times in 32 appearances for Villa since joining from Sunderland in a £24m deal 12 months ago, but the striker has now emerged as a shock January transfer target for goal-shy Liverpool.

Kenny Dalglish's side have scored just 24 times in 19 Premier League games this season and with Luis Suarez facing a potential eight-match ban, the Liverpool manager has identified Bent as a surprising January target.

The Aston Villa star has apparently grown unsettled with life in the Midlands after a summer of upheaval and a series of minor injuries that have hampered his form.

Last week, reports claimed Liverpool were preparing a £24m bid for the player but Alex McLeish has since refuted suggestions he could be forced to sell him.

However, The People has revealed Bent would 'jump at the chance' to complete a move to Anfield and Liverpool are readying an offer to test Villa's steadfastness.

Bent missed the club's previous three matches prior to the Chelsea game through injury and said he was looking forward to regaining match fitness.

"It has been a frustrating time for me with injuries but I am now going in the right direction," he said.

"Long-term I don't think it was anything serious. I probably need to do a bit more work in the gym to get things stronger and just take it from there really.

"Hopefully that's the last of my injury problems and I can look forward to some more time on the pitch and scoring goals now."