Liverpool report: Reds to battle Manchester United for Portuguese wonderkid

Jurgen Klopp, Erik ten Hag
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag pictured on the touchline at Old Trafford (Image credit: Getty)

Liverpool and Manchester United are ready to go head-to-head for the signature of Benfica starlet Antonio Silva, according to reports.

The arch-rivals are both keeping close tabs on the 18-year-old centre-back, who is extremely highly rated in Portugal.

The teenager began the 2022/23 campaign with Benfica (opens in new tab)'s B team but was quickly drafted into Roger Schmidt's first-team squad.

Antonio Silva

Liverpool and Manchester United are keen to sign Antonio Silva (Image credit: Getty)

He has now forced his way into the starting XI at the Estadio da Luz and will be involved when Benfica take on Juventus (opens in new tab) in a crunch Champions League clash on Tuesday.

Tipped to be a future Benfica captain by former Liverpool (opens in new tab) and Everton (opens in new tab) defender Abel Xavier, Silva is already being linked with a move away from the Lisbon-based giants.

According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo (opens in new tab), Liverpool and United (opens in new tab) are both weighing up a move for the teenage stopper.

It will not be easy for either club to prise him away from Benfica, though, as Silva's contract contains a release clause worth £87m.

Under contract until 2027, he is valued by Transfermarkt (opens in new tab) at just £3.6m - but that figure does not take into account the rapid progress he has made in recent months.

Silva is now one of the most in-demand young central defenders in European football, so Liverpool and United may have to remain patient in their bids to sign him.

Liverpool forward Mo Salah looking dejected during the Reds' 4-1 loss to Napoli in the Champions League.

Liverpool have endured a tough start to the 2022/23 season (Image credit: Getty Images)

Silva has said in the past that he admires Antonio Rudiger and Virgil van Dijk, but Manchester City (opens in new tab) and Portugal centre-back Ruben Dias is his main point of reference.

"I look at Ruben Dias a lot," he told CNN (opens in new tab) earlier this year, when he was still in the Benfica youth setup.

"He started playing here and look at what he achieved at Manchester City and also at Benfica. He's a person to see as an example and it's important for me to have references to reach the top."

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Liverpool are also monitoring another Benfica youngster, with the 23-year-old Florentino Luis (opens in new tab) among the Reds' top midfield targets.

Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha (opens in new tab), who is out of contract at the end of the season.

It has been suggested that there might be a rift between Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool's club captain Jordan Henderson (opens in new tab), amid the club's difficult start to the campaign.

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