Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will continue his policy of signing young players by launching a £4million bid for Sporting Lisbon's highly rated centre-back Tiago Illori.

The 20 year old has made a huge impact since Jesualdo Ferreira took charge of Sporting and decided to put his faith in a number of academy players who have helped turn around the fortunes of the Portuguese giants.

Tiago Illori
Tiago Illori in action against bitter rivals Porto. [Reuters]

Illori became a regular in the side back in January and, along with fellow youth team graduates Eric Dier and Bruma, has helped the club recover from a dreadful start to the season as they secure a sixth place finish.

Rodgers has made it clear that he wants to strengthen the squad in the summer and with Jamie Carragher retiring at the end of the season, one of his priorities is to sign a new centre-back.

While Illori may not be viewed as an immediate successor to Carragher, he has shown his potential over the second half of the season and is viewed as one of the best prospects at the club.

He first began to make his name while representing Sporting in the NextGen series and may well have caught the eye of Liverpool's coaching staff while playing in this tournament. In fact the Portuguese side eliminated the Reds from this season's competition, while also beating them twice last year.

Liverpool signed Joao Carlos Teixeira from the Sporting academy last season after being impressed with the young midfielder and, according to the Daily Mirror, it seems they will now turn their attention to his former team-mate Illori.

The Mirror reports that Liverpool are prepared to offer £4million for the Portugal Under-20 defender who would be challenging Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Sebastian Coates for a place in the first team.

Sporting are likely to demand a much higher fee for one of their best prospects, especially as he signed a new deal until 2015 back in March, but the club's dire financial situation may play a major factor as they are desperate for funds.

The Portuguese side have always had difficulties holding onto their best academy players, with Ronaldo and Nani both being poached away from the club before they turned 21.