Liverpool's hopes of securing Uruguayan international Luis Suarez depend on the player following Charlie Adam's lead and agitating for a move.
Liverpool's director of football strategy Damien Comolli was told by Suarez's club, Ajax, in a meeting in Amsterdam yesterday that an offer of £30m would be needed to tempt them to sell the forward to the club.
That is considerably more than the Anfield side had hoped to pay for the player, identified as Kenny Dalglish's first-choice attacking reinforcement, and valued at around £18m.
Ryan Babel, however, was last night on his way out of Anfield after agreeing a move to German side Hoffenheim. The news came just hours after Dalglish confirmed the Dutchman would be staying at Anfield for the time being.
Babel's move rules out the chance of using the striker as a makeweight in any deal to land Suarez.
The Premier League club's owners, Fenway Sports Group, are unlikely to sanction Comolli to match Ajax's asking price
That leaves Liverpool hoping that Suarez can convince Ajax to allow him to leave. Though the Uruguayan is desperate to join Liverpool -- where he would be set to more than double his £30,000-a-week wage -- he's thought to be wary of offending the Dutch club's fans by handing in a formal transfer request, as Adam has done at Blackpool, in case it is rejected and he is forced to stay in Holland.
Suarez, though, has experience in forcing deals through, having threatened a court case when his former club Groningen blocked his move to Ajax in 2007.
Should he fail, Dalglish would most likely be forced to continue until the end of the season with just the French U-21 international David Ngog as cover for Fernando Torres.
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway has suggested that Liverpool may need to part with £16m to secure the services of Adam and claimed that the Anfield club would be "fools" not to improve on Friday's £4m offer.
"I think they're mad not to buy him off us because I think he can replace Xabi Alonso, which (with respect to) Raul Meireles they've not done yet," said Holloway.
"If I was the Liverpool manager I would have him in my team by now. If the player is good enough then sign him and that's what they should do. Put up or shut up, it's as simple as that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)