Liverpool have stolen a march on their three Premier League rivals in the chase for striker Nicolas Pepe.

Reports suggest the Reds have made a formal enquiry about the Lille forward - a step further than interested Arsenal , Manchester United and Everton.

According to French outlet Le10 Sport, the Reds have established contact with Ligue 1 side Lille about the in-demand forward.

Pepe is wanted by a host of sides after the 23-year-old scored 19 times and provided 11 assists in 32 matches.

Jurgen Klopp knows his must add more to his forward options this summer.

Now, the reports claim, the Premier League leaders are hoping to get a deal done.

Pepe is second in the scoring charts to PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe and his form in front of goal has taken the club to new heights.

Lille's president now accepts they can't keep the star at the club thanks to the level of interest from other clubs.

Club president Gerard Lopez told Telefoot he expects the player to move on.

"Four or five players will be leaving this summer,” he said.

“All clubs are forced to balance their accounts except perhaps one. I would say yes, it is sure he [Pepe] will leave.

“He enters a price range that can no longer be paid. There is a career choice to make for him, I think he will have the choice."

Meanwhile, Liverpool are ready to trigger Julian Brandt's contract release clause, according to Sport Bild.

The Bayern Leverkusen forward has attracted some serious attention from across Europe in recent months, but the Reds are ready to act fastest when the transfer window opens.

Brandt can be released from his contract for just £21.5million - a tiny fee considering the calibre of the player and his potential.

Timo Werner appears to be available too and Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff said: "It's well known that we want to extend with him, but he's signalled to us that he does not want to sign a new contract.

"We need to see what's right for us and for Timo."

Source: Daily Mirror

This story has been reproduced from the media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.

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Liverpool 'make contact with Lille over Nicolas Pepe'