Liverpool have prepared a £10m bid for Southampton's highly rated teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they attempt to rebuild for the future and to back Kenny Dalglish's pledge of support for Fernando Torres with action.
The 17-year-old son of the former England international Mark Chamberlain has made only 14 starts for the League One club but is regarded by many at Southampton, and Liverpool's scouting department, as a better prospect than Theo Walcott was at the same age. Walcott's current club, Arsenal, are Liverpool's main rival for the signature of an attacking midfielder who has scored six goals this season, and the clubs hope to complete a deal in this transfer window.
Liverpool have not yet made an offer for Oxlade-Chamberlain, the second youngest player to feature for Southampton behind Walcott, but the club's new owners, Fenway Sports Group, are willing to meet the south coast club's £10m valuation. FSG, advised by Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli, want to invest in young and coveted talent, and the teenager's arrival would serve as a statement of the new owner's intent should he choose Anfield over the Emirates.
Anfield scouts view Oxlade-Chamberlain as one of the finest prospects in the country and, though he would likely be nurtured into the first team at Liverpool, the club are anxious to address the lack of support for Torres. The Spain international was substituted 13 minutes from the end of Dalglish's first game in charge at Manchester United on Sunday, with Liverpool in need of an equaliser in the FA Cup third-round tie. The club's record signing has struggled for fitness and consistent form for over a year and often appeared disillusioned during Roy Hodgson's ill-starred reign. Dalglish, however, is confident he can lead Torres out of his prolonged slump and has told the 26-year-old to look no further than his own career for evidence that even world-class strikers are not immune to a loss of form.
Dalglish, who takes charge of his first Premier League game at Blackpool, said: "Someone asked me if I had a magic wand for Fernando. I said I don't need one, he has got one himself. He might be lacking a little bit of confidence, but he is still a top goal scorer and someone everybody fears when he goes on to the pitch.
"I went through a worse spell than he has. I can pass on advice and I will try and help him in any way, shape or form, but it's the same for all the players. We've got to try and help each other. We've got to have respect and belief in what we are doing and carry that on to the pitch. We have to continue working as hard as we possibly can to turn things around."
Steven Gerrard starts his three-match suspension against Ian Holloway's side and Dalglish, whom Torres has cited as a role-model in the past, added: "It's all about relationships between players and staff. I've got fantastic respect for Fernando, not only as a footballer but also as a person as well. When he signed for the club he really threw himself into learning about the history and the tradition of the club, he really soaked it all up. "I hope I can help him and I will help him in whatever way I possibly can. But then I would say that about any one of the players at this football club. We will give them as much support as we all possibly can, and not just to Fernando." This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.