This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool have leapt to the front of the queue for Lazio defender Modibo Diakite, according to Calcio Mercato.
Lazio have been negotiating with the Frenchman in order to extend a contract which is due to run out in the summer.
But Diakite has consistently turned down the proposals made to him by Lazio president Claudio Lotito and now looks to be coming to the end of his time in the Italian capital.
A number of sides have been linked with the 25-year-old, but it is Liverpool who have the advantage; the Reds recently enquired about the tough-tackling defender.
Diakite, a physically strong defender, has been tipped to do well in English football by a top Italian fixer, while the player himself is also thought to be keen on making the move to the Premier League.
Lazio may now try to sell Diakite before the transfer window closes in order to at least realise some value from the defender.
Whether Liverpool will bid, or would rather hold fire to push for a free transfer in the summer, remains to be seen.
Waiting until the summer though would run the risk of Diakite being made other lucrative proposals.