Liverpool are preparing to renew their interest in Stoke City captain and former Manchester United trainee Ryan Shawcross according to reports in local Staffordshire press.
The 23-year-old defender is being lined up as an alternative to Birmingham City's Scott Dann after the recently relegated club raised their valuation to far in excess of what Liverpool are willing to pay for him.
Reds boss Kenny Dalglish is believed to be stepping up his search for a central defender after Monday night's 3-3 friendly draw with Valerenga in Norway once again highlighted Liverpool's frailties at the back having conceded 15 goals in just five pre-season outings.
Shawcross has been previously linked with a move to Anfield, having been targeted by two of Dalglish's predecessors Roy Hodgson and Rafael Benitez, but so far a move to Merseyside has failed to materialise - mainly due to Stoke's reluctance to sell one of their prized assets.
Chester-born Shawcross was formerly on the books of Liverpool's rivals Manchester United, but was deemed surplus to requirements by Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson, and so left Old Trafford permanently in January 2008.
It has been previously suggested that Manchester United would have first refusal on re-signing Shawcross if, or when he eventually leaves the Britannia Stadium - making Liverpool's intentions to make a £12million for the Englishman somewhat futile.
However, if the Reds' interest is deemed to be genuine, it is unlikely United will stand in their way of Shawcross having already strengthened defensively themselves with the summer signing of Phil Jones, who moved to Old Trafford for a fee in the region of £16million.