Liverpool are preparing to relinquish their interest in signing Adam Lallana from Southampton and switch their focus to signing Lazar Markovic from Benfica in the upcoming transfer window.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Reds manager Brendan Rodgers wants a straightforward answer from the Hampshire club's management on their stand in the matter involving the transfer of their coveted skipper.
The Saints midfielder has been the subject of strong interest from the Merseyside club in the last few months. Liverpool were believed to have initially made a £20m bid for Lallana but after it was rejected, they reportedly made an improved offer of £26m for the England international.
However, the club have declared their intention to stall any outgoing transfers until a new manager is appointed following Mauricio Pochettino's departure to Tottenham Hotspur.
Earlier this month, a report from the Daily Express suggested that Southampton are prepared to sell the 26-year-old only if an offer of £30m is made. Unhappy Liverpool, instead, are looking to invest the same amount on Markovic.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed a wonderful campaign with the reigning Portuguese champions since making the switch from Partizan Belgrade last year, featuring in 38 matches in all competitions.
Although the Benfica youngster will not meet the homegrown criteria if he makes the switch to Anfield, Rodgers is eyeing a move for the talented winger as an alternative to Lallana, who operates in a left midfield role.
Chelsea too were reportedly interested in signing Markovic but Liverpool are believed to be in pole position to sign the winger during the summer transfer window.
The Mirror claims that the former Swansea City boss fears Southampton's delay in giving a concrete reply for Lallana could see Liverpool suffer setback in signing the Serbian international if Benfica strike an agreement with another club.
Initially it was said that the Portuguese outfit were demanding £30m for Markovic, who still has four years left in his current contract. But the report suggests that Jorge Jesus' side might consider selling the youngster if a £25m bid is tabled.
Although the fee is too big to be splashed for a 20-year-old, Rodgers could reap long-term benefits if Markovic repays the Northern Irishman with stellar performances.