This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool have emerged as Manchester United's biggest rivals for Will Hughes after Brendan Rodgers installed the teenage prospect as his top target for the January transfer window.
Already linked with Hughes, along with several other Barclays Premier League clubs, Liverpool are now ready to grasp the initiative, with Rodgers poised to ask for the necessary funding to land Derby's England U21 midfielder when the market opens again.
Derby manager Steve McClaren effectively sounded the starting gun for a scramble to sign Hughes in the New Year by admitting the Championship club could not hope to hold on to him much longer.
Derby may demand as much as £15million for the 18-year old, and while Liverpool will try and negotiate that down towards single figures, Rodgers will urge his board to pull out all the stops to bring him to Anfield.
Rodgers was interested in the left-sided attacker before the last window shut and is now ready to spring into action, after McClaren reluctantly concluded that cashing in on one of the country's brightest talents was the only way to finance his own transfer plans.
Though United have carefully monitored Hughes' progress this season, there are some misgivings within Old Trafford about the likely asking price and whether his slight build might count against him.
The fee could also be an issue for Liverpool, but Rodgers is said to be 'desperately keen' to see off his Premier League rivals and land an emerging talent he feels would be perfectly suited to his style of play.