Liverpool want United target

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Liverpool are reportedly set to make a bid for Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour.

The 22-year-old has been the subject of interest from Manchester United, but the Daily Mirror suggests that the Merseysiders are set to do battle with their great rivals for his signature.

Sir Alex Ferguson is known to be a long-term admirer of the Belgium international, and the United boss even sent the former RC Genk man a personal message of encouragement after the playmaker broke his leg last September.

Prior to his injury, Defour was regarded as one of the hottest prospects in European football; reportedly catching the eye of Arsenal and Real Madrid among others.

Defour is a versatile midfielder – equally as comfortable in a free role or as a holding player – and has been compared to Paul Scholes in his pomp. And, with Argentina captain Javier Mascherano nearing the exit at Anfield, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson is keen to fill the void that will be left by the Inter Milan target.

Despite signing a new contract with Standard in March, Defour’s agent has offered his suitors hope in their pursuit.

"If a club agrees a fee with Standard and us, then it is possible he will leave," said Paul Stefani.

Liverpool have been linked with an array of midfielders since Mascherano made clear his intention to quit the Reds, with Defour and West Ham’s Scott Parker recently added to the alleged list of targets, which reportedly includes Christian Poulsen and Stilyan Petrov.

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