Sporting Lisbon set January sights on Liverpool defender

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Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori has emerged as a January loan target for his former club Sporting Lisbon, reports Sky Sports.

The 20-year-old only arrived in England in a £7million deal in the summer, but is yet to feature for the Merseyside outfit in the Premier League.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has used the Portugal U21 international sparingly, and is understood to be willing to allow Ilori to leave Anfield temporarily, when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.

"We have decided to study this subject but it depends on the Reds," said a Sporting Lisbon source, confirming the club's interest in bringing Ilori back to Estádio José Alvalade.

"Formally we have not received any communication."

Sporting manager Leonardo Jardim would happily bring the Liverpool stopper back to Lisbon, where he could continue his development by playing regularly in the Primeira Liga.

With Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho all ahead of Ilori in the first-team pecking order, perhaps a short-term switch would be in the best interests of all parties.

Rodgers is thought to be considering the respective futures of a number of Liverpool's fringe players, and could also send fellow summer signing Iago Aspas out on loan in January.

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