Liverpool have activated the £32.5m release clause on Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke’s contract, paving way for a prospective transfer.
Manager Brendan Rodgers had earlier hinted that the Reds were never going to “bank” the fund from the £49m sale of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City and have moved in time to improve their options upfront.
Belgium international Benteke, with two year’s left in his current contract, is understood to be keen on the move to Anfield, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also linked with the player.
Benteke, 24, scored 12 goals in 12 games last season for Aston Villa, but has not made secret his desire to play in Europe in the coming season.
England striker Daniel Sturridge, who struggled for fitness throughout the 2014-15 campaign, is out until September with a hip problem.
Benteke joined Aston Villa from Genk in August 2012 for £7m and has scored 49 goals in over 100 appearances.