Liverpool are preparing a move for Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams this January, as Jurgen Klopp looks to add some pace and verve to his ailing frontline. The initial plan was to wait till the summer but Bilbao's attempts to tie the player down to a new contract has accelerated the process.

The Mirror reports that Williams has a £15.7m ($22m) clause in his contract, which Liverpool are ready to evoke given the lack of striking options at their disposal at this point. Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings and Divock Origi are all out of contention with injuries, while Christian Benteke has failed to establish himself in the good books of the manager. The Belgian striker was on the bench in Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Anfield but came on in the second half to provide the assist for Joe Allen's equaliser against the Gunners in the last minute of normal time.

Klopp is keenly monitoring the 21 year old, adjudged the fastest player in the La Liga, who has scored 10 goals in 21 appearances thus far. Arsenal and Tottenham are also in the race for the forward but Liverpool are keen to steal a march on them by signing the player in January, failing which may lead to him signing a new contract, which would inflate his release clause to a massive £77m ($110m) in the summer.

The Reds face Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday (17 January), where a win will see them go level on points with the Red Devils and give a massive boost to their chances of securing a place in the top four. They are currently five points adrift of Tottenham, who are in fourth spot, with 17 games still left in the second half of the season.

Their injury crisis has been abated by the return of Jordon Ibe, Jordan Henderson, Kolo Toure, Mamadou Sakho and James Milner to the first team but they are still some way from returning to full throttle. Dejan Lovren, another casualty of the prevalent hamstring problems, has revealed that he has a chance to feature against United this weekend.