Liverpool will step up talks for Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan this week.

The Observer says the Ukrainian club's chief executive, Sergey Palkin, had suggested that there had been no official contact with Liverpool over the player, who scored 25 league goals last season, but that approach is now understood to have occurred and Anfield officials are hopeful about concluding a deal.

Mkhitaryan, 24, has been voted Armenia's player of the year three times and has thrived as an attacking midfielder, prompting interest from clubs in the Bundesliga and France's nouveaux riches, Paris St-Germain and Monaco.