Liverpool have made Swansea City's emergent midfielder Joe Allen one of their targets for this summer having been impressed with his rise to prominence this season.
The Wales international, 21, who caught the eye again in Sunday's 3-2 win for Swansea against Arsenal, has been scouted by Liverpool since an impressive performance at Anfield in his club's 0-0 draw there in September. He signed a contract at the start of this season that ties him to Swansea, with whom he has been since the age of nine, until 2015.
A move for Allen looks unlikely this month, especially with Liverpool's priority being a striker, and Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers having discouraged any interest in his players. Nathan Dyer is another who is attracting attention, with Tottenham Hotspur taking a close look at the winger.
Allen fits the model of young player that Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli wants to sign – one who can be bought relatively inexpensively and whose value is likely to rise rather than decrease throughout the course of his contract.
Kenny Dalglish said yesterday that the performance against Stoke was not pretty to watch: "We had plenty of possession but there was nothing to finish it," the Liverpool manager said. "We lacked creativity. It wasn't a great spectacle."