Benitez mulling Parker move

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is reportedly lining up a bid for West Ham United midfielder Scott Parker in the January transfer window.

According to The Sun, the Reds' boss will offer Gianfranco Zola’s cash-strapped side £6 million for the ex-Chelsea and Newcastle tough-tackler as a replacement for Javier Mascherano.

Mascherano has been heavily linked with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona and will be expected to leave Anfield should Liverpool fail to secure Champions League qualification this season.

Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal further dented their hopes of finishing in a top-four position.

While Parker is one of the Hammers’ top earners and Zola could be forced to sell in January to ease the club’s crippling debts.

The 29-year-old has won three England caps, and his recent displays have led to suggestions that he could be a surprise inclusion in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.