Liverpool May be facing an uphill battle should they pursue reported target Fernando Llorente in the January transfer window. The Atheltic Bilbao striker has frequently been mentioned as a leading candidate to help alleviate Liverpool’s goal-scoring ills, but Juventus and Arsenal are leading the chase to secure his signature, according to TalkSport.

Llorente is widely expected to leave the La Liga club in the near future having run into the final year of his contract after failing to sign an extension amid increasing hostility from Athletic’s supporters.

Athletic have thus far refused to negotiate the 27-year-old’s buy-out clause of €36 million (£28.6m), but that could change in January with Llorente able to leave for nothing next summer.

Juventus were reported to be interested in signing the Spain international in the summer and now general manager Giuseppe Marotta has intimated that the club will move for a big name player in January.

"People continue to ask me if we will sign a top player in January and all I will say at this moment is that we are monitoring our options with great attention,” he said, according to TalkSport.

With the story also claiming that Arsenal remain keen on Llorente, any Liverpool attempt to complete a deal is likely to fall on deaf ears. Both Arsenal and Juventus are likely to be able to offer Llorente Champions League soccer into the new year, something that he is sure to desire at this stage of his career.

Liverpool are also one of a host of clubs linked with Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Igor Denisov. The Russia captain’s future is currently in doubt after he criticized the salaries being paid to new Zenit signings Hulk and Axel Witsel and was subsequently forced to play with the youth team.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City are also said to be monitoring the progress of the 28-year-old.

Finally, Liverpool are thought to be weighing up the possibility of making a move for Bayer Leverkusen winger Sidney Sam. Portuguese publication Record relates reports in Germany suggesting that the 24-year-old is keenly admired by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.

The former Germany Under-21 international has made just one substitute appearance so far this season under coach and former Liverpool stalwart Sami Hyypia.