Liverpool have stepped up interest in Shakhtar Donetsk forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Metro believes the Reds are likely to face competition for his signature from Tottenham Hotspur. The Ukrainians have reportedly been made aware of the 24-year-old Armenian international's desire to move to a top European league and will consider a fee in the region of £12m.
Brendan Rodgers will be wary of that price tag though. The Anfield club have a limited summer budget, believed to be only £20m. And with a pressing need to find a replacement for veteran centre-back Jamie Carragher (the ex-England international will retire in the summer), the Northern Irishman will likely have to wait before approaching Mkhitaryan. It is believed that up to £10m of the summer budget may have already been earmarked to sign Ashley Williams from Swansea City.
Moreover, given the club have already signed Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho, from Serie A side Inter Milan in January, Rodgers may opt to play a waiting game in this case. Mkhitaryan started all eight of the club's Champions League games this term, scoring twice.
Brendan Rodgers on Injuries
Meanwhile, Rodgers also provided an update on injured players, ahead of the game against Aston Villa on Sunday. The club travel to Villa Park after a shocking defeat to Southampton two weeks ago.
Welsh midfielder Joe Allen has undergone surgery on his shoulder and Rodgers confirmed the youngster would be sidelined for the rest of the season. The good news, though, is that Spanish international Pepe Reina and Carragher are both back in training and defender Martin Kelly is expected back by May.
"A lot of the players who have been on international duty have come back and the medical team has looked at them and everyone is fine. There are a couple of little niggles here and there but nothing that's going to keep anyone out. Lucas couldn't start against Southampton because he had an injury - he didn't train a lot of the week. But everyone is fighting fit and fresh and we're really looking forward to the weekend," Rodgers explained.