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Liverpool close on Willian and Cissokho

ESPN staff
August 16, 2013
Rodgers believes Liverpool can compete

Liverpool have agreed a deal in principle to sign left-back Aly Cissokho from Valencia on a season's loan, and have opened talks with Anzhi Makhachkala to sign Willian.

Brendan Rodgers has been chasing a left-back all summer to provide competition for Jose Enrique. The club have backed away from a move to sign Benfica's Lorenzo Melgarejo on loan, while they have been unable to agree a deal with Granada for Guilherme Siqueira.

Cissokho, who has been strongly linked with a move to Sunderland, is expected to travel to Merseyside next week to have a medical and discuss personal terms, sources said.

He joined Valencia from Lyon in August 2012, having previously played in Portugal for Vitoria Setubal and Porto.

Rodgers declined to discuss the prospect of signing Willian when asked at a press conference on Thursday, but is keen to complete a deal for the midfielder.

Willian only joined Anzhi from Shakhtar Donetsk in January for £32 million. But Anzhi are understood to be looking to cut costs, having been bankrolled by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov for the last two years. Willian told ESPN on Friday that he would welcome a move to Liverpool, describing them as a "great club".

"For now, all there is are talks," he said. "There was the Manchester City bid and that was turned down and that was a while ago. Now I'm waiting for a new bid to arrive in the next days from a few clubs, like Liverpool. If it's really Liverpool, then it is surely a great club. I'm hopeful and very calm, just waiting for the best.

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"I know some clubs have talked with my agent about the money, but he hasn't told me anything. He only said that he had conversations with some clubs, and he also didn't tell me which clubs."

But when asked if the clubs involved were English, Willian added: "I think so. England is my goal. The English championship is the dream of many players and I'm no different. I like the Premier League very much, I enjoy the English football and certainly, if that happens, it will be very good for me and for my image."

However, Liverpool are aware that they are likely to face competition from a number of sides for Willian's signature.

Rodgers is keen to land a major summer signing, having lost out to Borussia Dortmund in his bid to bring in midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar. He also saw another target, striker Diego Costa, turn down a move to Anfield in order to sign a new contract with Atletico Madrid.

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