Liverpool up chase for Bundseliga ace

Liverpool are set to open talks with Hoffenheim for attacking midfielder Roberto Firmino, according to reports from The Metro.

After securing Rickie Lambert and Emre Can for a combined £14m, Reds chief Brendan Rodgers has now set his sights on bolstering his squad further, with a top class playmaker a priority.

Southampton captain Adam Lallana has long been seen as the major target, yet with the Saints’ £30m valuation still present a deal may be unworkable.

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Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich has mooted as an alternative, but now reports suggest that Firmino is in the mix.

The Brazilian was one of the Bundesliga’s top performers last term for midtablers Hoffenheim, netting 16 goals – the joint fourth highest tally in the division.

It is understood that Liverpool have been impressed by this, and that Ian Ayre will jet out to Germany in the coming days to discuss a deal for the 22-year-old – who missed out on a spot in Brazil’s World Cup squad despite his good form.

Chelsea have also been linked with him, but their move for Cesc Fabregas may leave the Merseysiders free to push a £15m switch.