Liverpool are planning a swoop for Udinese midfielder Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, according to the Metro.

Brendan Rodgers is set to splash the cash in January to revive his top four challenge and the defensive midfielder has been earmarked as the man to protect the Liverpool backline. The Reds already have Lucas Leiva for that role but his presence will allow Rodgers another line of defence, which has proved his Achilles' heel on his trips to the likes of Arsenal, City and other top teams this season.

The player is expected to be available for a fee in the range of £7m and has reportedly been recommended by his European scouts who are expected to be busy this January.

Arsenal and Tottenham have previously scouted the player and the 23-year-old's versatility will be a major plus for Rodgers, with the player capable of playing in both midfield and defence and will provide able cover should anyone be injured.

The player is among the best talents in Serie A and will give them some much needed depth in the midfield, which is reeling following the injury to Joe Allen in their game against Chelsea.

Steven Gerrard is yet to return and Rodgers will be looking to get his business done quickly with a busy set of fixtures set to arrive. Liverpool have slipped out of the top four with two consecutive losses to Manchester City and Chelsea and are now only two points ahead of Manchester United, who are joining the race for the top four.

Rodgers bemoaned the depth of his squad but was impressed by the fight shown by his young guns in the two toughest games of the season for the Reds.

"It's been a brilliant effort by the squad. We couldn't have had two tougher games against two greater squads. As you can see from ours, it's very thin at the moment. At the start of our season this squad was very thin anyway and we needed that bit of luck with nobody getting injured. Up to three weeks ago, that worked well for us. But these players have been brilliant and they've shown when we've got everyone available we'll be a match for anyone," Rodgers said.