Liverpool tipped to make shock move for international defender

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Liverpool are allegedly keeping tabs on Preston defender Sean St Ledger, with a view to making a bid in January.

The Daily Mail reports that Aston Villa are set to battle Liverpool for the £4 million-rated Republic of Ireland international as Gerard Houllier and Roy Hodgson look to reinforce their squads in the New Year.

St Ledger, 25, is supposedly being monitored closely by Liverpool - with assistant boss Sammy Lee said to have recently been sent to run the rule over the centre-back.

Liverpool are expected to splash the cash in January after new owners NESV pledged to bring fresh faces into Anfield.

Both Hodgson and NESV owner John W. Henry have expressed their concerns about a lack of depth in the Liverpool squad, and a deal for St Ledger - who can play at full-back or in midfield - would provide added versatility.

"I'm not sure our strength in depth is as good as it needs to be and that will be a very important conversation we'll be having in the coming days: what can be done to make our squad a bit stronger than it is?" Hodgson told the official Liverpool website.

"If you compare us to some of the squads we'd like to be competing against, theirs go a bit deeper."

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