Liverpool appear determined to strengthen their defense this summer, with the club being linked to several targets.

Veteran center-back Jamie Carragher has announced that he will retire at the end of the season, while there has also been speculation about the futures of Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates. Daniel Agger was also the subject of interest from Manchester City last summer.

Manager Brendan Rodgers’s priority would appear to be bringing about a reunion with Swansea’s Ashley Williams.

The Guardian has recently reported that Liverpool believe that they are leading the race to sign the Wales captain, despite serious interest from Arsenal. The Gunners are said to have had a £9 million offer rejected in January.

The 28-year-old’s previous relationship with Rodgers as well as his support of the club growing up is believed to see him favoring a switch to Anfield.

Rodgers’s biggest problem could well be getting Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group to sanction an offer, which may have to approach the £12 million mark in order to persuade Swansea to sell, for a player of William’s age. Since taking over the club, FSG have favored a transfer policy based around youth. Last summer, a deal for then 29-year-old Clint Dempsey fell through with Liverpool unwilling to meet Fulham’s valuation before he signed for Tottenham.

Williams appears to be far from the only target, however. The Daily Mirror has reported that Liverpool have made an inquiry for Manchester City’s Micah Richards.

The 24-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged season, but Liverpool, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain are all thought to be monitoring his situation. While Richards featured prominently at right-back last season, his rival for the position, Pablo Zabaleta, has been one of City’s standout players this season. An England international, Richards has also previously been deployed in central defense.

According to the Mirror, City remain keen to keep Richards and value him at £15 million.

Another option could be Lazio’s Modibo Diakite. The 26-year-old will be out of contract in the summer and Liverpool and Roma look set to battle it out for his signature, according to TalkSport. Having been at Lazio for seven seasons since joining from Pescara, the France-born defender may be reluctant to move to their fierce local rivals, however.

One defender that it appears Liverpool won’t be signing is Brazil international Dede. The highly rated Vasco de Gama player had been linked with a host of European clubs, including the Reds.

Dede, though, looks set to remain in Brazil and sign for Cruzeiro.

"It's concrete, there is an offer from Cruzeiro," Dede, according to Sky Sports. "But I don't know yet if I'll leave Vasco or not."

While an official announcement has yet to be made, Brazilian publication Globo has since reported that Dede has now agreed to join the club based in Belo Horizonte, with Vasco receiving €5.5 million (£4.7m) for their 45 percent share of the player.