Report: Stage Set for Liverpool-Manchester United Bidding Wars for Ibrahim Afellay, Fernando Llorente, Steven Defour

The Manchester United-Liverpool rivalry looks to take a different form come the re-opening of the transfer window in January.

Both club managers have reportedly been given the green light to spend copiously in the transfer market — 100 million pounds for Sir Alex Ferguson and 60 million, 30 in January and 30 in the summer, for Roy Hodgson — and the two seem to have many of the same targets.

Not only are both clubs looking at Spanish international Fernando Llorente, but each has their eyes set on two of Europe's most promising young midfielders.

Dutch international Ibrahim Afellay of PSV has already declared his desire to play in the Premier League at a big club, specifically one like Manchester United or Liverpool, and with his contract expiring in June, he is sure to be sold.

Likewise, midfielder Steven Defour of Standard Liege has been monitored by both Hodgson and Ferguson, and the Belgian international seems apt to make a move to a bigger club. His agent called a January switch a "possibility."

On a more outlandish front, The Mirror has reported that Manchester United are looking to swoop Pepe Reina from Liverpool. Sir Alex may be seeking the 28-year-old star as a long-term replacement for the ancient Edwin Van der Sar, but United has also been linked to big-name keepers like David de Gea and Maarten Stekelenburg.

As for Reina's availability, he has recently come out in support of the team's new ownership, but has blamed Fernando Torres' lack of goals on the team's strategy and may not be wholly content with Hodgson. Still, it would seem far-fetched that United would be able to pull off such an acquisition.

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