Tottenham Hotspur have held talks with Andre Villas-Boas

Former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is reportedly leading the line to become the next Liverpool manager, following the dismissal of Kenny Dalglish.

Anfield chiefs have said that the search for the Scot's replacement is underway and it is now understood that the club's American owners made contact with Villas-Boas two weeks ago to determine his interest, reports The Independent.

The Reds sacked Dalglish from his post on Wednesday after a dismal season in the league, in which the Reds finished below local rivals Everton and after the 61-year-old Dalglish's exit, odds were on Villas-Boas becoming the next manager of Liverpool, according to Sportingbet.

Furthermore, despite early reports linking the 34-year-old with Roma, it is believed that the Portuguese tactician, who failed at Stamford Bridge after nine months in charge, is leaning towards the vacancy at Merseyside.

Meanwhile, a Guardian report suggests Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp and Marseille manager Didier Deschamps are the other two strong candidates linked to the Anfield job after Villas-Boas. The Sun, however, claims that Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers has been identified by Liverpool owner John W Henry as the ideal candidate to replace Dalglish. The report says Henry will now fly to England to begin the interview process and although bookmakers have installed Villas-Boas as the early favourite for the position, Rodgers is top of the owner's shortlist.

Rodgers has enhanced his reputation tremendously over the past two seasons, following the Swans' promotion from the Championship with an 11th place finish in the club's first ever season in the Premier League. His success at deploying an attacking style of football, inspired by Barcelona, has also won the hearts of several football pundits and fans.

The sacking of Dalglish is not particularly shocking, given the club's poor results. However, it did run contrary to claims the owners made last month, when the said the former Liverpool player had their full support, as they let go of director of football, Damien Comolli.

It is believed that the Anfield heads were unconvinced the club could achieve Champions League qualification under Dalglish and also doubted his transfer policies after the £120mn investment in players such as Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson.

"After a careful and deliberative review of the season, the club came to the decision that a change was appropriate. It is not a decision that was reached lightly or hastily. The search for a new manager will begin immediately," read an official statement.

Steve Clarke, Dalglish's assistant, has also left the club out of loyalty to his fellow Scot.

Wigan Athletic boss Roberto Martinez, ex-England manager Fabio Capello and former Reds coach Rafael Benitez are also thought to be leading contenders for the position.