Darren Bent
Liverpool-target Darren Bent has scored six goals in 16 appearances this season. REUTERS

Alex McLeish has been forced to quash renewed speculation Darren Bent is poised to move to Liverpool, after the Aston Villa manager revealed there had been no contact between the two clubs.

Bent, 27, had emerged as a January transfer target for Kenny Dalglish after the Reds accepted Luis Suarez's eight-game ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Concerns over Andy Carroll's recent form and Craig Bellamy's long-term fitness had led Dalglish to identify Bent as the player to resuscitate Liverpool's profligate attack.

However, Bent and McLeish had both previously said the England international was unlikely to leave Birmingham, and the Villa manager has reiterated his standpoint that the player will not be sold to Liverpool or any other Premier League club.

"We've not heard a thing from Liverpool," McLeish is quoted on SkySports.com. "I'm aware of the speculation.

"But there has been no contact with this club and I think you've had three parties telling you that.

"But, even if there was contact, we would not entertain that [selling Bent to Liverpool].

"We wouldn't want to entertain selling our top scorer of last season. He is a prolific marksman."

Bent has scored 15 times in 32 appearances for Villa since joining from Sunderland in a £24m deal 12 months ago, but the striker has apparently grown unsettled in Birmingham "following a summer of change and a succession of niggly injuries," the Daily Mail reports.