Liverpool started negotiations with 6 ft 4 in Serie A defensive rock

The Merseyside giants are scouring the transfer market for potential new signings at the defence this month and are reportedly looking at Napoli centre-back Nikola Maksimovic to boost their trophy opportunities after a rocky start to the season.

Reds are going through one of their most difficult periods since the German manager took chargeback in 2015 and injuries to a host of their crucial footballers have threatened to derail the Merseyside club’s back-line.

First-choice duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are unlikely to feature again this term due to serious knee injuries and Jordan Henderson has even had to fill in at centre-half in recent weeks.

The German manager has, in total, experimented with 14 separate combinations at the heart of his back-line since the beginning of the campaign and there have been desperate calls from frustrated fans to bolster before the winter transfer window closes.

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, widely regarded as one of the finest defenders in Europe, has long been linked with a move to Liverpool but Senegal international’s eye-watering price tag continues to put off possible suitors.

Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis told presenter Jim White that Koulibaly would not be going anywhere unless the Serie A outfit received an offer in excess of £100m. But White was also informed by De Laurentiis that Reds had been exploring a bid for Kalidou’s centre-back partner Nikola who would be available for a far cheaper fee.

However, Liverpool are yet to follow up on their interest in the 29-year-old defender, with just three weeks staying until the transfer deadline.