Kenny Dalglish has made Valencia winger Juan Mata a priority signing after Aston Villa rejected an improved offer for Stewart Downing earlier this week.
According to a report on the Mirror Football website, the Merseyside club upped their bid from the £12 million they tabled two weeks ago to a generous £15 million.
However, Villa are thought to be holding out for an astronomical sum of around £20 million, and Liverpool are not willing to shell out so much to bring the 27-cap England international to Anfield.
Despite clearly being keen to move on from the Midlands outfit having stalled with contract negotiations, Downing will have to find another suitor able to provide European football.
Meanwhile, Dalglish will look elsewhere to find a steady supply of assists for his new strike partnership of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.
Given the immense form of Mata during Spain’s successful European Under-21 Championship campaign over the course of last month in Denmark, the Liverpool manager is likely to put together an attempt to raid the Mestalla.
Valued at close to £20 million by his current employers, Mata has achieved a great deal in the game in spite of his tender age.
Still just 23 years old, he has compiled 11 senior caps for his country, during which time he has scored four goals.
Though he was restricted to a single substitute appearance in the 2-0 group stage win over Honduras, Mata was a part of Spain’s squad throughout their run to World Cup victory in South Africa last summer.
Arsene Wenger is also known to be a fan, having allegedly attempted to break Arsenal’s club transfer record with an £18 million bid for the player last week.