Chelsea have told Liverpool that they will not allow Daniel Sturridge to move to Anfield in a cut-price deal this week.
• Reds to renew Sturridge interest
As ESPN revealed last week, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has set his sights on landing Chelsea forward Sturridge, who fits neatly into Liverpool's long-term plan to sign young, British players and mould them into world-class stars.
Yet Anfield insiders have revealed that Chelsea are holding out for a bumper fee for the England international, who is being valued at a whopping £25 million by the reigning European champions.
That figure would appear to rule Liverpool out of the race to sign Sturridge, although they will still raise the possibility of a season-long loan with a view to a permanent transfer.
The price tag would appear a little inflated for a young player with just two years left on his current Chelsea contract and who was valued at just £6 million when he moved from Manchester City back in 2009. His previous employers would be entitled to a cut of any deal if he were to move before Friday's transfer deadline.
Sturridge has made no secret of his desire to play more regularly in a central role, and earlier this month told Chelsea's official website: "On a personal level, I just want to be playing regular first-team football.
"Nobody wants to sit on the bench so it's important for me this season to be playing regularly and show everybody what I'm capable of doing as a centre-forward."