Aston Villa have rejected suggestions that Liverpool target Darren Bent has had a bust-up with manager Paul Lambert.

Sky Sports reports how speculation over the weekend claimed that the 28-year-old striker could be sold in January, following an alleged dispute with his manager, after he was dropped from Villa's starting line-up.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has already confirmed his plans to be active in the January transfer window, prompting rumours of an attempt to lure Bent to Anfield.

After starting the season at Villa Park as captain, Lambert decided to give the skipper's armband to summer signing Ron Vlaar, and to add insult to injury, Bent was then axed from the starting XI for games against West Brom and Tottenham.

With Liverpool and QPR keeping tabs on his situation, a Villa spokesman moved quickly to deny there is a problem between the player and manager.

"There is not a problem," the spokesman told the Daily Express. "The manager has explained why he has not selected Darren for the last two games and has said his door is open if the player wants to discuss the matter."

Lambert is under pressure to recall Bent against ­Fulham on Saturday after Christian Benteke - who was picked ahead of him - missed two good chances against Spurs, which Villa's boss admitted were costly.

The Daily Mirror believes Bent is willing to stay and fight for his Villa place, but is worried he will fall further out of the international picture if his manager continues to ignore him.

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