Liverpool step up pursuit of River Plate defender

Liverpool are willing to enter into a bidding war to secure the services of River Plate defender Eder Balanta, Football Express News understands.

A source close to Anfield told FEN the Reds are determined to significantly strengthen their much-maligned backline during the summer transfer window and have identified the Colombia international as a priority purchase.

They are fully aware that they are not the 21-year-old’s only suitors, with Serie A and La Liga heavyweights believed to be monitoring the situation with interest.

However, the insider revealed Liverpool are undeterred by the prospect of an auction for Balanta as they find themselves in a strong financial position, with talisman Luis Suarez set to join Barcelona in a mega-money switch.

One year ago the centre-half put pen to paper on his first senior contract with River Plate, signing a three-year agreement despite the frequent presence of scouts from across Europe who returned to their clubs with progress reports on the youngster.

Liverpool came close to winning their first ever Premier League title last season, only to see their good work undone by several high-profile and costly defensive mistakes.

Most notably, in the closing weeks of the run-in they were 3-0 up at Crystal Palace with 11 minutes remaining, but capitulated and drew 3-3, handing the impetus to eventual champions Manchester City.