Liverpool have moved ahead of bitter rivals Manchester United in the summer race for Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho, according to reports from the Daily Star.

The Red Devils have been tracking the 22-year-old for some time, with former manager David Moyes having made him a rumoured top target for this coming transfer window before he was sacked a matter of weeks ago.

Since then United’s interest is understood to have cooled, which has alerted Liverpool.

After watching his Reds side concede a whopping 50 goals last term – which ultimately cost them a first ever Premier League title – Brendan Rodgers is thought to be eyeing defensive minded additions.

Carvalho – who has represented Portugal twice at international level – is thought to be an option, with the Northern Irishman having been impressed with his ability to shield his teams’ backlines.

The youngster has a £37m release clause in his contract, yet it is rumoured that offers of closer to the £30m mark will be accepted by Sporting, who are in a state of financial worry.

Liverpool may be able to fund a deal, yet much depends on their pursuit of Adam Lallana – with Southampton now demanding upwards of £25m for the playmaker.

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