By Wayne Veysey

19th Apr, 2021 | 6:45am

Exclusive: Liverpool interested in Aston Villa ace Watkins

Liverpool are interested in Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins, Football Insider can reveal.

The Merseysiders are in the market for a new forward this summer who can strengthen an attack that has regularly misfired this season.

A Liverpool source has told Football Insider that the club are keeping tabs on Watkins less than a year after he became Villa’s record signing.

The 25-year-old scored a memorable hat-trick in Villa’s devastating 7-2 win over Liverpool last October and added another in the reverse fixture nine days ago.

Watkins has netted 12 Premier League goals in his first season in the competition and started all 30 of their top-flight matches.

Liverpool’s recruitment team are assessing potential forward options who can fit into Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.

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Watkins is on their radar because he has blistering pace, can play a quick tempo game and has an eye for goal.

At Villa, the 2020 arrival has been used exclusively at centre-forward but he can also operate out wide and run at opponents, dip his shoulder and move both ways.

His mobility and aerial prowess ticks many boxes for Liverpool, although it remains to be seen if their initial interest will extend any further.

Watkins became Villa’s record signing last summer when he signed from Brentford for an initial £28million rising to £33m with add-ons.

He took his game to a new level last season when his 26 Championship goals took the Bees to the play-off final, which they lost to Fulham.

In other news, Liverpool target Raphinha news emerges on social media ahead of Monday night showdown.