Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is reportedly ready to make another bid to lure Chelsea youngster Daniel Sturridge away from Stamford Bridge. The 22 year old England international faces an uncertain future with the Blues and has indicated he wants regular first team action.
The Reds have made no secret of their interest in signing the youngster, particularly after an impressive performance at the London Olympics 2012. They may have to move quickly though, with reports that Italian outfit Inter Milan are also in the fray.
The Manchester City youth product was a regular starter under former boss Andre Villas-Boas but slipped down the pecking order once Roberto Di Matteo took over. Now, with the arrivals Belgian playmaker Eden Hazard and attacking midfielders Marko Marin of Germany and Oscar from Brazil, his first team chances suddenly appear very bleak.
Gaston Ramirez on Inter Milan's Radar
Meanwhile, Liverpool's other target Bologna's Gaston Ramirez is now being monitored by Inter Milan. The Serie A club is reportedly all set to make a bid of £8.7m (€11m) including an additional £2.4m (€3m) in bonuses.
Rodgers earlier admitted to dissatisfaction with his present first team and that he would make more signings, if at all possible. One of those could well be the arrival of Real Madrid's Turkish midfielder, Nuri Sahin, on loan for the season. Another could be Uruguayan international Gaston Ramirez, from Italian club Bologna. However, the Reds will once again have to contend with interest from Inter, after reports emerged the Nerazzurri were ready to offer approximately £9m (and bonuses worth £2.4m).
The 24 year old attacking midfielder was another of the standout performers from the men's football event at the London Olympics 2012 and he attracted interest from Tottenham, Liverpool, Southampton and Inter Milan. It was previously reported the player was on his way to the Saints, in what would certainly have been one of the more surprising moves of the summer but the claim was soon denied by his agent.
Rodgers Happy with Liverpool's Win over Hearts
Elsewhere, Rodgers has confessed to being pleased with the Reds' narrow 1-0 win over Scottish club Heart of Midlothian, in the first leg of the two clubs' play-off for a Europa League spot. Liverpool were fortunate to win the game and needed home player Andy Webster to score an own goal to do so.
The 39 year old Northern Irishman was quick to praise what he described as the overall effort shown by his players and said he felt his team's positional play became better as the game progressed.
"It was a good win for us. In the first half we showed some good moments. But I think there was a problem with our positioning. If you are going to have good possession you've got to have good positioning on the pitch and I don't think they had that in the first half," Rodgers told Liverpool's official Web site, adding, "Second half we were much better. There was good tactical discipline in the team, we worked the ball better from side to side to try and penetrate and that led to the goal which was a well-worked move."