Liverpool appear to face immense competition for the signing of Roberto Firmino, with Italian sources cited by talkSPORT suggesting that six clubs will rival the Reds for his signature during the summer.
Those reports suggest that Serie A duo Juventus and Inter Milan are both watching the 22-year-old playmaker, along with Spartak Moscow, Zenit, Wolfsburg and La Liga title-chasers Atletico Madrid.
Brazilian starlet Firmino, rated at around £13 million, has been with current employers Hoffenheim since 2010 but has really begun to make a lasting impression this season after notching 12 goals and eight assists in just 22 league appearances for Markus Gisdol's side.
Reports last week claimed that Liverpool - whose impressive 3-0 victory over Southampton at St. Mary's last Saturday keeps them in the thick of the Premier League title race - had made the former Figueirense man a top transfer target.
Given the impressive performances supplied by the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Phillipe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling so far this season, it could well be argued that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is not particularly in need of more firepower in the final third and indeed would be better advised to focus on strengthening his shaky defence.
However, if - at the very least - Liverpool are able to end their frustrating exile from the Champions League this season, then they will surely need to strengthen their squad in every area to cope with the increased demands that such a competition will inevitably offer.
Hoffenheim, who currently sit 10th in the Bundesliga after last week's 6-2 mauling of Wolfsburg at Rhein-Neckar-Arena, would presumably be keen to avoid the sale of one of their most-prized assets yet such a move could prove unavoidable with Firmino's contract due to expire in the summer of 2015.
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