Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Liverpool hopeful of agreeing deal for Dnipro ace

Dnipro's Yevhen Konoplyanka is a Ukraine star

Liverpool are holding talks with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk over the potential signing of winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.

It is understood the club are in conversation with their Ukrainian counterparts to ascertain whether a deal can be done this month.

Sources have said Liverpool are "testing the water" to see if Dnipro are willing to sell now as the 24-year-old winger was initially identified as target for the summer.

Contrary to reports, the Reds head of recruitment Dave Fallows has not travelled out to Dnipropetrovsk and managing director Ian Ayre is believed to be handling negotiations, although not in Ukraine.

However, with less than two days remaining in the January transfer window it may prove a task too far to push through a deal which would likely cost Liverpool £16million.

The Reds have been given some hope it remains a possibility after the Ukraine international's father Oleg said there was a potential deal in the offing.

"I do not want to say specifically but the information about a transfer to the English club is true," he said.

"He can change club later this week. We do not consider offers from Ukraine."

Having lost out on long-term target Mohamed Salah after the Egypt international opted for Chelsea, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he was still keen to make an addition before Friday's deadline.

There has been growing discontent among fans that no progress was being made to strengthen a squad which is severely depleted by injuries.

"I think we will hopefully do something over the next couple of days," said Rodgers after beating Everton 4-0 in Tuesday's 222nd Merseyside derby to maintain their grip on fourth place in the Premier League.

"Hopefully we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games."

It was felt Liverpool needed greater reinforcements towards the back end of the team with four defenders – Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sakho and Glen Johnson – and defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva all currently out injured.

However, having kept a second successive clean sheet, centre-back Martin Skrtel believes they are strong enough defensively to cope with injuries.

"We have been working every single day on the training pitch to try to improve our defence," he said.

"It's not only about the keeper or the back four, it's about the whole team defending better.

"It's always nice to keep a clean sheet but the most important thing is always to win. I would rather we won 6-4 than drew 0-0.

"With the FA Cup win (against Bournemouth) too that's two clean sheets in a row and hopefully we can make it three."

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