Liverpool losing ground in race for Barcelona defender

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Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen are reportedly set to beat Liverpool to the first move for Barcelona defender Martin Montoya during the summer transfer window.

According to talkSPORT, Liverpool are keen on Montoya but Bayer Leverkusen are poised to make an approach to prise the highly-rated full-back away from the Camp Nou.

Montoya, 22, has started only 14 La Liga matches for Barcelona in the last two seasons with Dani Alves preferred at right-back, and now Bayer Leverkusen seemingly hope to take advantage of the player's situation.

The Spain under-23 international has just one year remaining on his contract with Barcelona, and the Primera Division champions may look to cash-in on the player to avoid losing him for nothing next year.

Liverpool are reported to maintain a long-standing interest in Montoya, although it is unclear if Reds manager Brendan Rodgers will make an attempt to bring the player to Anfield during the imminent transfer window.

The Merseysiders, meanwhile, may lose centre-back Martin Skrtel before August's transfer window, with the Slovakia international open to leaving Liverpool during the summer months.

Napoli, managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez, are favourites to sign the 28-year-old.

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