Liverpool's hopes of signing Sporting Lisbon youngster Tiago Ilori have been hampered by reports suggesting Valencia are also in contention for the defender's signature.

The 20-year-old has enjoyed a break out campaign for the Portuguese club during the second half the season, taking a place in Jesualdo Ferreira's starting XI after impressing for the club in the NextGen series.

Tiago Ilori
Liverpool may have a battle on their hands to sign the Sporting youngster. (Reuters)

Ilori's mature performances despite his tender years have attracted the attention of Brendan Rodgers, who is reportedly keen to enlist the services of the young defender as he seeks to shuffle his defensive options over the summer.

Liverpool are not the only side to have been alerted to Ilori's growing reputation however, as Valencia are also preparing to tempt the centre half into a move to the Mestalla, Record report.

Ilori's rapid progression in the Sporting side has left the club desperate to tie him down to a new contract, one that will keep the prodigious defender at the club for at least another season or two, or a deal that ensures they command a greater transfer fee, should they be forced to cash in.

Brendan Rodgers has been placed with the difficult task of replacing Jamie Carragher this summer, following the veteran defender's decision to retire at the end of the season.

The northern Irish manager already has defensive concerns over Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates, and although youngsters Andre Wisdom and Martin Kelly will be vying to fill the void left by Carragher's retirement, Rodgers is keen to add at least two defenders to his squad.

Ilori is contracted to Sporting until 2015, but as the Portuguese Primeira Liga approaches its final week, the club will attempt to secure his future as quickly as possible. The defender, who was born in London, has been a regular fixture in the Sporting side since February, making 12 appearances including in high profile games against Benfica and Porto.