Liverpool are close to securing the signature of Manchester City defender Kolo Touré as they look to fill the void left by Jamie Carragher’s retirement.
Brendan Rodgers has identified numerous targets to reinforce his central-defensive options, and Touré - available on a free transfer - is poised to have a medical at Liverpool after Manchester City’s tour of the United States after next weekend.
The 32-year-old Ivory Coast international has seen his contract run out at the Etihad Stadium having rarely featured since being suspended for six months after admitting accidentally taking a banned substance in 2011.
Toure was once one of the most highly regarded centre-halves in the country, moving to Manchester City for £16 million in 2009, and Rodgers will feel that if he can regain full fitness with regular football he will be a useful asset.
The Liverpool manager is anxious for a proven Premier League defender to join his squad alongside a developing star.
In recent weeks, the Merseyside club have also assessed Schalke’s Greek defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Llori.
Rodgers is also eager to be reunited with Swansea captain Ashley Williams, but his age and valuation in excess of £10 million have made it increasingly difficult to conceive such a transfer.
Much depends on the future of Martin Skrtel, who has been out of the side since January. A substantial bid for Skrtel would offer Rodgers an opportunity to reassess - Zenit St Petersburg were eager to re-sign the centre-half in January - but if a valuation of Skrtel beyond £12 million was not met the Liverpool manager is equally willing to give the Slovakian another opportunity to rediscover his form.
Rodgers, meanwhile, believes Philippe Coutinho may prove one of the most astute purchases the club has ever made if he begins next season as thrillingly as he ended this one.
Coutinho cost just £8.5 million from Inter Milan in January, unable to cement a place at the San Siro after numerous injuries.
At Liverpool, however, his performances in the second half of the season have generated hopes Coutinho will fulfil his potential as one of the future stars of Brazilian football.
“He’s a real find for us in terms of the price we have paid. Hopefully his value will be much greater than the cost in the coming years,” said Rodgers.
“When you bring somebody in during January, you hope they can make an impact. You are also looking at it as a six-month adaptation period before you get the best out of them from pre-season onwards.
“We are all pleasantly pleased and surprised by how well he has done. His numbers tell you the story in terms of goals and assists.”