Liverpool 'prepare proposal' for top defensive target

Liverpool are lining up a bid for Sporting CP centre back Goncalo Inacio, according to a report.

The 22-year-old was tipped as a possible target for Liverpool last summer, before signing a contract extension in Lisbon.

However, that new deal came with a release clause set at €60m (£51.5m), leading to speculation that the Reds could make a move in January or this summer.

According to Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha, Liverpool will 'prepare a proposal' for Inacio, who has become a priority target.

Arsenal and Real Madrid are among the clubs to have been linked with the Portugal international in recent months, though the report tips Jurgen Klopp's side as the most likely to make a bid this month.

Goncalo Inacio - Pro Shots

Goncalo Inacio - Pro Shots

Klopp has publicly played down talk that Liverpool could yet make a big signing during the winter window, despite injury concerns.

Andy Robertson and Kostas Tsimikas' injuries have left Joe Gomez covering at left back, while Joel Matip is out for the season with a ruptured ACL.

In addition, Trent Alexander-Arnold is not expected to return to fitness until the end of the month, after sustaining a hamstring injury in the FA Cup win over Arsenal.

Those knocks have left the Reds short on senior options at the back, while defence is known to be an area of focus for the recruitment team this year.

Anfield Watch understands that a left-sided centre back – which Inacio is – remains a priority.

Ousmane Diomande, Sporting CP

In addition to Inacio, Liverpool have also been monitoring his Sporting CP teammate Ousmane Diomande, who is currently on international duty with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 20-year-old has a release clause set at €80m (£68.5m).

With Sporting CP leading the Portuguese league and still in Europe, as well as Diomande's international obligations this month, a summer move for the highly-rated defender appears far more possible than a January one.

Elsewhere, the likes of Ko Itakura (Gladbach), Leny Yoro (Lille) and Antonio Silva (Benfica) have also been named as possible centre-back targets.

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