Liverpool 'favourites' to land former Gunner on short-term deal

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Liverpool are reportedly leading the race to sign Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra on loan in January.

The 25-year-old French international has been heavily linked with a Bernabeu since the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer, and Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is thought to be keen on bringing the player to Anfield.

Spanish paper AS claims that Madrid will allow the defensive midfielder to leave on loan in January with a view to a permanent deal being concluded in the summer, a scenario which is thought to appeal to the Reds.

Liverpool appear set to strengthen their squad in January following investment from new owners NESV, and Hodgson is thought to have 'five or six' players on his Merseyside wishlist.

An attacking foil for Fernando Torres is thought to be the priority at Anfield, but the link with Diarra continues to grow strong and a loan deal makes sense for both Madrid and Liverpool.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is also thought to be interested in the former Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth star, and could provide a challenge to Liverpool in the opening month of 2011.

Manchester United and Aston Villa are also thought to be monitoring the situation, but Tottenham and Liverpool are the reported frontrunners at this stage.

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