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Five players linked with signing for Liverpool this week

Liverpool have already clinched the signing of Daniel Sturridge, who will follow him to Anfield?

After a disastrous end to the last transfer window, Liverpool were obviously keen to get this January one off to a good start. And they did, with the signing of Daniel Sturridge who scored minutes into his debut in the FA Cup.

Its unlikely the Reds will end their mid-season business there, with some suggested acquisitions more likely than others.

Here is a look at five players linked with signing for Liverpool so far this week:

Tom Ince 

Tom Ince is said to be edging closer to his move to Liverpool, a year and a half after the club allowed him to leave for Blackpool. Since then the winger has cemented his reputation as one of the most up and coming players in English football. At one stage it had looked like Manchester United were favourites to sign him but Liverpool have since emerged as clear favourites for his signature. The two clubs are haggling over the price tag, Liverpool have upped their original £4 million bid to £6 million, but Blackpool are firmly holding out for £7 million from the Reds. Ince's father Paul is said to be negotiating the deal from his end, and is proving a tricky customer. He is reported to be demanding assurances over first team action, saying his son does not intend to sit on the bench, otherwise it would be more beneficial for him to remain at Blackpool.

Modibo Diakite 

Liverpool are reported to be negotiating with defender Modibo Diakite over a potential summer transfer. The centre-back is out of contract in the summer and the Reds are trying to tie him down to a pre-contract agreement. The versatile defender can also play in midfield, Liverpool face competition for his signature. One side interested are Aston Villa, along with Italian duo Juventus and Inter Milan. However the Express reported yesterday that his current club Lazio are trying a last-ditch attempt to change his mind by offering a large up front cash incentive to stay in Rome.

Davide Astori

Italian centre-back Astori is a much underrated defender who looks set to move on from Cagliari who is interesting Liverpool. The 25-year-old has been capped by Italy and Liverpool would represent a substantial step up for him. However Southampton have made the first move in the race to sign him, and it is a threat the Reds should not underestimate given the way the Saints beat them to the summer signing of Gaston Ramirez. However both sides are short of his club's £12 million valuation and this is one to watch as the month goes on.

Leo Baptistao

Liverpool are reported to have had scouts watching Rayo Vallecano attacker Leo Baptistao on Monday night. The Brazilian is a boyhood pal of Neymar and has replaced Michu at the Spanish club. He has six goals and six assists in 16 appearances this season and at just 20, is making a big impression. Manchester United are one of several teams interested, along with Atletico Madrid. Baptistao plays as a deep-lying forward and is currently in his debut season in La Liga.

Jack Butland 

Goalkeeper Jack Butland was again linked with Liverpool by The Mirror last night. The Birmingham City stopper is one of the most highly rated Englishmen in his position, already a full international, and it is only a matter of time before he ends up in the Premier League. Again Liverpool face competition from Southampton, with rivals Everton and Arsenal also interested in the 'keeper. There has been speculation that Pepe Reina will leave Liverpool, but do not expect him to exit this January, with Rodgers likely to make a decision in the summer. This is likely to see the Reds hold off on Butland until the summer, but if they see a rival moving in then they are thought to be prepared to enter the bidding this month.

Which of the five do you want to see at Liverpool?

image: © Sanjiva

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