Liverpool interest 'strengthened' in £18m Benfica forward

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Liverpool are planning an £18million move for Benfica forward Nolito, reports talkSPORT.

The 25-year-old Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the Portuguese Liga's most sought-after assets, scoring 15 goals in all competitions last season.

And, after the summer arrival of new Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers, the Reds' long-term interest in the former Barcelona B star is believed to have strengthened.

Nolito - who can hug the touchline or drift inside - would fit nicely into Liverpool's new dynamic 4-3-3 formation, and could provide some much needed support to Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Fabio Borini.

The impact of Borini on Merseyside in particular, has been disappointing so far, with a return of just one goal in the Italian's first ten games, since arriving from Roma in the summer.

Rodgers will be keen to add more quality to his ranks in the attacking department, as Liverpool continue their search for a long-term replacement for club-record signing Andy Carroll - whose future almost certainly lies away from Anfield, after the £35million man was sent out on loan to West Ham.

Nolito netted 29 goals in 106 games during his time with Barcelona B, but turned down a professional contract at Camp Nou in 2011, in favour of more first-team opportunities with Benfica.

The forward's desire, and love for the game is sure to be an attraction for Rodgers, but whether Liverpool will be able to generate enough money to make a move possible, only time will tell.

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