Liverpool are being linked with a January move for German international starlet Lars Bender.

The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder is earning rave reviews in the Bundesliga, and once again impressed on the Champions League stage in his side's 2-1 win over Chelsea last night.

His performances have alerted a number of club's across Europe, and reports in Germany now claim Liverpool have taken a keen interest in the 22-year-old, whose twin brother Sven plays for Borussia Dortmund.

Damien Comolli, director of football at Liverpool, is reported to have made a couple of personal scouting trips to check on the player at the BayArena, reporting back to manager Kenny Dalglish with a glowing reference.

Speculation suggests the Reds would need to spend in the region of £12 million to lure the player to Anfield, although Robin Dutt will be eager to keep one of his star players at last season's runners-up.

Bender's arrival could also spell the permanent end for Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole on Merseyside, with both players currently plying their trade away from Liverpool on loan.

Franco Zavaglia, Aquilani's agent, suggests that a permanent move to AC Milan is almost a formality for the player, whilst Lille have expressed an interest in taking Cole permanently off the hands of Liverpool after a fine start in Ligue 1.

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