Liverpool have played down reports that they are on the verge of signing Lyon defender Aly Cissokho.

The 23-year-old left-back has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield after Kenny Dalglish failed to sign Newcastle's Jose Enrique. Reports from the player's camp suggested that a £9m deal to take the France international to Merseyside was imminent. But the Daily Mail today indicated that Liverpool's interest has cooled after Lyon demanded £16m for the defender.

Another player not likely to move to Anfield is Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole, who had been linked with a move away from Wearside.

But Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said he is mystified by reports suggesting the 23-year-old could be a target for the Reds.

Bruce told reporters, "I don't know where that has come from. It's news to me.

"I have not even thought about this situation, to be honest. I have had bigger things on my plate to worry about.

"We have been dealing with Liverpool for the past five weeks over the Jordan Henderson deal and there was never a mention that they wanted Lee.

"I don't know where it's coming from at all."

Aquilani cost Liverpool £20m in 2009.

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Meanwhile, Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli said the club are ready to off-load a number of squad players before the new campaign begins.

"I'm sure there will be players going out because some players would like to play more and have more minutes," he said. "We will probably have a few loans as well; players who we would like them to develop, into the Championship or the league abroad.

"In terms of players coming in, it's difficult to say. I think we are going to sit down, look at the situation, see where we are, see who might leave and then we will reassess later."

One such player could be Italy international Alberto Aquilani who has been linked with a return to Serie A.

Former West Ham midfielder Valon Behrami has admitted he would like to see Aquilani at Fiorentina next season.

"Aquilani to Fiorentina? He has excellent qualities," Behrami told reporters.

"With him I'm sure we could make a quantum leap."