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Liverpool set sights on Standard skipper

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Liverpool are being linked with a move for Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour.

The Belgian international is thought to be on the verge of a Stade Maurice Dufrasne exit, with new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson ready to swoop for a previous Reds target.

Reports in the Belgian press state that both Defour and midfielder Axel Witsel are poised to leave Les Rouches, with the later being courted by both Aston Villa and Sunderland in the Premier League.

Defour interests the elite in the English top flight though, with Manchester United, Spurs and Arsenal all reportedly taking an interest in the player at some stage or another.

It's the Anfield club who remain interested though, with the Football Pools reporting that Hodgson could spend in the region of £8.5 million for Standard's skipper.

Defour made his senior debut for RC Genk in 2004 before signing for Liege as a teenager in 2006. He helped the club to two consecutive titles in 2007-08 and 2008-09, but last season the club finished a disastrous 46 points behind Anderlecht in the Belgian top flight.

This could signal the end of the line for the Belgian international as he looks to further his career outside of his homeland. "I feel the time is right for me to move on," Defour said as long ago as January '09.

"I would be ready to move abroad, but the transfer will come when all parties are happy. I have achieved what I wanted to achieve with Standard, and maybe it is best for my career to make an upward step."

The ambitious central midfielder is clearly focused on making an impact elsewhere in Europe, and Merseyside could provide the answer for the highly-rated youngster.

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