Chelsea and Manchester United also rumoured to be interested in the central midfielder.
The centre of midfield was an area where Liverpool were regarded as well covered, but Lucas Leiva's season ending injury has changed all that.
The Brazilian's screener role in front of the defence was crucial in their recent draw against Manchester City.
His injury could not have come at a worse time, he has been in outstanding form for the past 18 months.
With two-thirds of the season to go, Kenny Dalglish is being forced back into the transfer market.
Steven Gerrard is also injured, while Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson are neither suited to the Lucas role, and the promising Jay Spearing is still learning his trade.
One of the best like-for-like players potentially available is Newcastle's Cheik Tiote.
Manager Alan Pardew has already stated he expects possible January departures and Tiote is primed for exit.
Last January Mike Ashley tied him up to a long-term deal until 2017, meaning he holds all the cards and can extract maximum price from any suitors,
These two clubs are no strangers to negotiating. Last January Liverpool paid £35 million for the services of Andy Carroll.
Ashley will be hoping to get around £20 million for Tiote, and Liverpool's American owners have not yet balked at crazy prices, see Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson for further evidence.
Tiote would also be suited to Manchester United who need a midfield destroyer in his mould, but a price of above £15 million will deter 'no-value-in-the-market' Sir Alex Ferguson.
Chelsea have also been linked, Villas-Boas is thought to be actively pursuing a replacement for John Obi Mikel, a player he does not rate.
We all know Abramovich has money, will he put it up this January?
If a three-way bidding war was to ensue, Liverpool hold the trump card.
Striker Andy Carroll has stuttered since arriving at Anfield, perhaps a return to his hometown club could get his career back on track?
In likelihood, Liverpool won't sell him, the £35 million was an investment for a young striker with potential they hope they will reap across many years to come.
A loan deal between clubs to send Carroll back to Newcastle from January until the end of the season would suit all parties, and could just seal the deal for Tiote.
- Liverpool fans do you want Tiote? Would you send Carroll back on loan?
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