Liverpool have held exploratory talks with AC Milan over the possibility of a deal for striker Mario Balotelli, sources say.
Rossoneri chief executive Adriano Galliano said on Tuesday that the Reds had not made an offer for Balotelli. But sources have told ESPN FC that Liverpool are interested in bringing the former Manchester City forward back to the Premier League if an agreement can be struck.
Reports in England and Italy suggest that AC Milan are not interested in a loan deal but may be tempted by a bid to buy the striker.
The proposal has come as a surprise because manager Brendan Rodgers appeared to rule out any chance of a move for the Italy international on Aug. 3, during Liverpool's preseason tour of the United States.
Rodgers is looking to reshape his forward line following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona in July.
Daniel Sturridge is the Reds' first-choice striker and Rickie Lambert arrived from Southampton in June to offer support, but the manager wants to strengthen in attack.
Rodgers said on Aug. 4 that it was "crucial" the club signed another forward before the transfer window closed on Sept. 1.
Free agent Samuel Eto'o, released by Chelsea at the end of last season, is one option that has been considered, as has Monaco's Colombia international Radamel Falcao.
Balotelli spent two-and-a-half years in England after joining Manchester City from Inter Milan in July 2010.
He helped City end a 35-year wait for a trophy as they lifted the FA Cup in 2011, then set up Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time winner against QPR on the final day of the following Premier League season as the club became champions of England for the first time since 1968.
The 24-year-old was unable to help Italy beyond the group stage as this year's World Cup in Brazil, although he did score the winner as they beat England 2-1 in their opening match.
However, his time at City was also touched with controversy, including incidents in which fireworks were set off in his bathroom and he threw a dart at a youth-team player.