Liverpool are preparing a move to sign Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma at the end of the season, according to Tutto Mercato Web. The 18-year-old is considered one of the brightest talents in France and has started 12 games for his side in the Ligue 1 this season. The Reds are likely to face competition from Manchester United, who have also sent scouts to watch him in action.

Kurt Zouma

The report claims the Merseysiders are in contact with the French club and will be looking to submit an official offer in the near future for the services of Zouma.

The French U19 international recently signed a contract extension with St Eteinne and his deal expires in 2017. Zouma recently admitted he would consider a move abroad at the end of the season. However, any approach from Brendan Rodgers wil not be an easy task, after Zouma admitted a "mad desire" to play in the Champions League.

The Anfield club are presently well outside the top four in the Premier League and, on current standings, unlikely to qualify even for the Europa League.

In any case, both Liverpool and United must also consider interest from Arsenal and Manchester City. French newspaper Le 10 Sport claims the two are also monitoring Zouma's progress, as they prepare for a summer battle for the defender's signature. Should the Reds fail to sign the centre-back in the summer, Rodgers may then look to bring Torino's defender Angelo Ogbonna.

Liverpool Youngster Hails Gerrard

Raheem Sterling

Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling has revealed Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard's words of wisdom before his first game for the Reds against Manchester City. The 18-year-old has been an instant hit this season, although a thigh injury has restricted his appearances since.

"It was probably my best performance. Purely because it was my first game, with so much pressure and against last season's champions. I was proud of myself afterwards. Before the game, Gerrard told me it was just an older version of the under-18s. He said not to worry about it and just to go out there and give my best, so that's what I did," Sterling told

"At the start of the season the manager said to all the young players that if we did well in training and had the right commitment and attitude, he wouldn't be afraid to throw us in, no matter what our age," the youngster added.