Liverpool are continuing to monitor the progress of Derby midfielder Will Hughes after sending their chief scout to watch the youngster in action against Bolton.

The highly-rated 18 year old caught the eye of numerous Premier League managers last season with a string of impressive performances. This led to the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and even Barcelona reportedly sending scouts to watch the midfielder.

Liverpool have been consistently linked with Hughes and the Mirror reports that they sent chief scout Dave Fallows to the Reebok Stadium in order to check on the talented midfielder.

It is likely that Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to check how Hughes does in his second season as he considers making a move for the central midfielder in the January transfer window.

Hughes would catch the eye as he set up Johnny Russell's goal but a hip injury meant that he was taken off shortly after half-time.

The England Under-21 international has already made 50 appearances for Derby and there is a suggestion that he is being lined up by Liverpool as a potential successor to Steven Gerrard.

Though both central midfielders, Hughes admits he bases his game more on Barcelona stars Andres Iniesta and Xavi, suggesting his technical ability and eye for a pass are his biggest assets.

Everton also sent a two-man delegation to check on Hughes but it is believed that Liverpool are the favourites to gain his signature and could even make their first offer when the transfer window opens in January.

Derby boss Nigel Clough knows that he will have a tough time hanging onto his brightest prospect but he hopes that Hughes will stay for some time despite interest from the biggest clubs.

"I expect Will to pick up where he left off last season, and if he does that then there will inevitably be more interest in him from the top, top clubs," Clough told Sky Sports last month.

"And in a way, we hope there is that interest because it would mean he is playing well for us. We are excited about seeing quite a few of the players this season but him more than anybody, really, after what he did for 30-odd games last season before his injury."

Liverpool have started the season in super fashion and currently sit top of the Premier League after four games. With Brendan Rodgers having a reputation for giving young players a chance, he will hope to gain the attention of Hughes over the course of the season.