Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Zenit St Petersburg defender Martin Skrtel for a reported fee of around £7million.

Reds boss Rafael Benitez has confirmed he is looking to bring in a central defender in this month's transfer window to bolster his squad and it appears 23-year-old Skrtel is his man.

Liverpool have struggled for numbers in central defence this season, with Daniel Agger still sidelined through injury and Alvaro Arbeloa has forced to play as a makeshift centre-half in some games

Slovakia international Skrtel is highly regarded and is believed to have interested the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Tottenham and Valencia.

However, Liverpool are thought to have stolen a march on their rivals by tabling a firm offer for Skrtel.