LIVERPOOL have started contacting clubs to explore whether they want to take £35 million striker Andy Carroll on loan for the forthcoming season.
Several clubs - including Tottenham Hotspur - who have previously expressed interest in Carroll were contacted yesterday. Liverpool's representatives are specifically looking for a season-long loan rather than, for now, selling the 23-year-old.
Spurs have decided against making a move and will concentrate on securing the permanent transfer of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City.
A deal is understood to be close for Adebayor, who spent last season on loan at Spurs, and could even be announced this week dependent on the pay-off he is expected to receive from City.
Newly-promoted West Ham would like to take Carroll and will make an inquiry of their own but their best chance of success may rest on the England international's close friendship, forged at Newcastle United, with West Ham captain Kevin Nolan.
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also shares an agent, Mark Curtis, with Carroll and that might help their cause, but the club would want the player's wages to be subsidised by Liverpool.
It is understood Fulham are also weighing up whether to make a move and Liverpool, who are keen to sign Clint Dempsey from the Craven Cottage club, might be interested.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has already suggested that the England international needs to prove he can fit into the 4-3-3 system he prefers or be sent out on loan, especially with an £11m bid now submitted for Roma striker Fabio Borini.
Rodgers said loaning Carroll is "something I would have to look at" and although he indicated he would give him time to prove he fitted into his plans, it appears Liverpool are, at the very least, testing the market to see if there is interest.
They may face a battle to secure a deal - not least from the player himself. Carroll would rather stay at Liverpool and fight for his place.
Liverpool have not had the sort of return they expected when they paid Newcastle United a British record fee for Carroll in January 2011. The striker did reasonably well for England at Euro 2012, yet it is difficult to see him slotting into the sort of system Rodgers deployed at Swansea.
Carroll would not command anything like the same fee should Liverpool look to sell him this summer and it is only sensible Rodgers is contemplating a loan move for a player whose strengths seem at odds with his preferred style of play.
Having broken back into the England squad under coach Roy Hodgson, Carroll needs to be playing regularly to stay there and it is unlikely he will remain opposed to a loan move if it becomes clear he will struggle to start games at Liverpool.
One player who should have no trouble making the transition under Rodgers is Luis Suarez and there is even the prospect of a new contract being agreed with the Uruguayan.
"I have had a good conversation with him over the phone," said Rodgers when asked about Suarez's absence from pre-season training because of his Olympic selection.
"We have exchanged lots of texts. He sent me a text on the first morning, wishing me good luck. He has really bought in to what we are trying to do.
"He was really excited about how we played at Swansea last year. He is really keen and looking forward to playing in a similar sort of model.
"We hope we're getting closer to agreeing a new contract with him. There has been good dialogue. People always talk about the players coming, but what is important are the ones you already have.
"I look at this group and I see a really good group of players." Rodgers will try to add to the squad he inherited from Kenny Dalglish, but has already made it clear there will not be a major change in personnel.
The Italian international forward Borini is expected to become Rodgers's first signing.
The 21 year-old, who only moved back to Italy after failing to break into the first team at Chelsea last year, could link up with the squad in time to feature on their pre-season tour of North America.
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, 20, has signed a new contract with Liverpool despite having made only 37 appearances since he joined from Charlton in May 2010.