Christian Benteke
Chelsea have entered the race for Liverpool's primary striker target Christian BentekeGetty Images

Liverpool are reportedly set to face competition from Chelsea in the race to sign Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke.

According to the Mirror, Jose Mourinho is keen on signing a striker in the summer and has been watching the Belgian international in the second half of the season.

Benteke, who struggled at the start of the season under Paul Lambert, is a different striker under new manager Tim Sherwood. He is the hottest striker in the Premier League at the moment with 11 goals in his last 10 games.

Chelsea have Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba as their three senior strikers, but the latter is a free agent at the end of the season and is most likely set to leave the club, the former two have been effective, but struggled with injuries during the course of the campaign leaving the Blues short upfront.

This has prompted the Portuguese manager to look for a striker and has hinted that his main area of focus this transfer window will be to spruce up his forward line.

This will come as a huge blow for the Merseyside club, who were favourites to land the striker, as Chelsea with Champions League football, will be a more attractive proposition for the striker.

The only advantage on Liverpool's side will be the offer of regular playing time in his favoured central role, while at Stamford Bridge he will mainly be a backup striker for Costa, who is clearly Mourinho's number one front man.

Villa are reluctant to sell their main player, but Sherwood has made it clear that he will sell the Belgian forward if the right offer comes in from an interested club. The Villa Park outfit values the former Genk forward at around £30m.