This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool will speed up their bid to sign Southampton defender Dejan Lovren after he reportedly handed in a transfer request.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has identified the centre-back as one of his top summer targets and, although the club has yet to submit an official bid, they are expected to make their move for him following the World Cup.
And now reports on Thursday claim Lovren, who is busy preparing to play for Croatia in this evening's opening game in Brazil against the hosts, has informed Saints he wants to leave the club.
The 24-year-old, who joined from Lyon last summer for £7m is keen to follow Rickie Lambert to Anfield, where he would add extra competition to Rodgers' backline.
It is thought Liverpool would have to offer in the region of £10m to have any chance of landing Lovren but his decision to try and force through a move means the transfer has a much better chance of going through.
Rodgers is also hoping to try and sign Adam Lallana from the south coast club this summer but Southampton have so far refused to budge on their £30m valuation of the playmaker after an initial £25m offer from the Reds was rebuffed.