Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers last night admitted that the club have made enquiries about Fulham forward Clint Dempsey, though the clubs' conflicting valuations of the player mean that a deal is not in the pipeline and a bid may not come until late in the summer.
Liverpool were forced to dismiss suggestions that they had bid for the American, after suffering the embarrassment of a company used to produce editorial for their owners Fenway Sports Group's website posting a headline that suggested they had.
Conversations between Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre and Fulham have made it apparent that the west London side value Dempsey far higher than Liverpool because he is one of their key players. That has contributed to Dempsey not being an immediate target, but one to whom Liverpool may return if discussions over other players come to nothing.
"Clint is a player we've enquired about, it is as simple as that," Rodgers said. "Ian Ayre has spoken with the club to see what the position is. That is where we're at. He's a very talented player but we don't like to talk about other clubs' players." An FSG website headline read: "Fabio Borini, Liverpool gear up for North American Tour as Clint Dempsey joins club."
Having insisted on the director of football responsibilities at Anfield, Rodgers is determined not to push FSG for deals which would represent poor business. Dempsey is 29 but the fact that he would provide no sell-on value would not be a problem for Rodgers, who sees him as a player who would fit into the kind of 4-3-3 system he envisages for the new season.
Swansea City have softened on their unwillingness to sell midfielder Joe Allen to Liverpool, a move which remains possible because Rodgers has no binding agreement with his former club which prevents him taking their players.
There has still been no Liverpool movement towards the purchase of Allen, but Swansea have a fee of around £15m in mind. The club were initially determined that Allen should not be sold, but there is an acceptance that it would be foolish to dismiss a sale if it delivered the club a substantial amount to reinvest.
Contrary to recent speculation, Rodgers said Liverpool would not entertain a straight loan deal for Andy Carroll. "To consider a loan period for someone the club spent £35 million on isn't something we're looking to do at this moment in time."