Liverpool has once again been linked to a move for Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, according to reports in the Metro.

The Malian international has been a reliable squad player at the Camp Nou since arriving from Sevilla in 2008. But, while he has been a part of a monstrous trophy haul in the past few seasons, Keita has found his playing time further limited this season as Barcelona continue to bring through their young talent. Indeed, Keita has only made seven starts in the league this campaign.

With Keita, 32, only potentially having a couple of top years left in him, now would seem a good time for him to go to a club where he could get more regular first team action,.

Liverpool would appear to be a perfect fit for the defensive-minded midfielder. Lucas Leiva, who has operated in the deep-lying midfield role to good effect at Anfield was ruled out for the rest of the season in December and Liverpool have sorely missed his combativeness in the middle of the park.

While, the home-grown Jay Spearing has come in to try and fill that role at times, he has looked a little out of his depth in the big matches. Keita's greater tactical awareness and experience would be a useful alternative for manager Kenny Dalglish to have going into the new campaign when it is hoped Lucas will be back to full fitness.

Though Liverpool would reportedly face competition from Premier League rivals Newcastle United, the Carling Cup finalists will fancy their chances of persuading Keita that his future lies with the reds.

Keita, who spent several seasons in French football-with Marseille, Lorient, and Lens--before moving to Spain in 2007, would be available for around £5 million, according to the Metro.

Meanwhile, a current Liverpool midfielder looks to be heading out of Anfield, at least for the short term. The club has already agreed a deal with Middlesbrough for Jonjo Shelvey to join Middlesbrough on loan, after Sunday's Carling Cup final, according to Sky Sports.

The 19-year-old has only made one league start this campaign and Dalglish will hope that another spell in the Championship, where he enjoyed success with Blackpool earlier in the season, will further aid his development.