Newcastle United have reportedly joined Liverpool in their pursuit of Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. The 23-year-old caught the attention of several Premier League clubs after a man-of-the-match performance in the Royals' 0-0 draw against the Reds earlier in the month.
The former England Under-21 star was only called into action after club No 1 Adam Federici was sidelined and, despite not having played since early November, produced 12 saves to keep a clean sheet against Brendan Rodgers' side.
The Mail believes Rodgers is keen on signing McCarthy, as cover and competition for present No 1, Pepe Reina. The Spaniard was heavily linked with a move away from Anfield earlier this season but now looks to be settled at the Merseyside club. Meanwhile, the Magpies have also entered the race. Alan Pardew is believed to be in the market for a goalkeeper, with speculation over Tim Krul's future at St James' Park and veteran Steve Harper set to leave in the summer, ending his 20-year association with the club.
McCarthy has made nine starts for Reading so far this season, making 45 saves. The stopper is best known for his stint at Yeovil Town during the 2009/10 season, when he made 45 appearances in all competitions and finished with over 200 saves to his name; Yeovil finished 15th in the table but had the 11th best defensive record. McCarthy also had loan spells at several other clubs, including Leeds United and Ipswich Town.
Fulham are also understood to be interested in McCarthy, with the Mirror suggesting Martin Jol is looking for a long-term replacement for veteran Mark Schwarzer.
Rodgers Hails Sturridge Cameo
Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge's performance as a second-half substitute against Chelsea last week proved the 23-year-old has the potential to become one of European football's top forwards. Sturridge came on after the break, with Liverpool trailing 0-1.
The former Chelsea man struck the post with a long-range effort soon after his introduction and then drew the Reds level with a composed finish. The England international also set up Luis Suarez's injury-time equaliser in the 2-2 draw.
"In the second half when he came on, he gave us a real threat - his pace and power were outstanding. He scored a goal which was a great finish and could have had two or three more," Rodgers said.
"He's fitted into the football club really well. He missed a bit of training last week but if we can keep him fit and keep him out on the training field, he's got the potential to be a top European striker and that's hopefully something he can fulfil here at the club," the Northern Irishman added.