Liverpool will reportedly face competition in the race to sign top target Virgil van Dijk from Southampton when the transfer window opens next months, with Premier League leaders Manchester City tipped to also compete for the coveted Dutchman's signature.
The Liverpool Echo notes that the Reds 'retain an interest' in Van Dijk as January nears, having seen earlier efforts to prise him away from St Mary's fail following complaints of tapping up.
Liverpool have rarely been far away from the headlines whenever the defender's future has come up, but Goal.com now claim that he is a 'preferred option' for City as they look to strengthen at the back ahead of the crucial second half of the season.
City were linked with Van Dijk in summer, but were left to look elsewhere instead when it became clear that he wanted to join Liverpool at the time.
Whether Southampton would be willing to do business with Liverpool could yet remain an issue that hands City an advantage.
Recent injuries to Vincent Kompany and John Stones have highlighted potential weaknesses in City's squad. Goal notes that there is a concern, however, with uncertainty over how Van Dijk might take being a 'squad player' if all center backs options are fit.
In that respect, Real Sociedad star Inigo Martinez is said to also be a target and could be more accepting of the kind of role City and manager Pep Guardiola are offering.
The big plus for both Liverpool and City in chasing Van Dijk is that he is a top class player who is immediately eligible to play Champions League football, with many star names cup tied in Europe for the rest of the season.
Specifically for City, Martinez would is also available for the Champions League this season.