SAINTS have been linked with Norwegian international defender Vegard Forren.

But Liverpool look to have jumped ahead of Merseyside rivals Everton in the pursuit of the centre half after he was invited for a trial.

The 24-year-old was expected to be at the club's Melwood training ground today for manager Brendan Rodgers to begin his assessment of the Molde centre-back.

Reports in Norway had claimed the Reds had a £4million bid accepted and Forren was scheduled to have a medical today, but that is not the case.

Forren, who made his competitive international debut in October, was scouted in person at least twice by Everton manager David Moyes recently.

Fulham and Belgian side Club Brugge were also linked with a move for the defender.

Forren's arrival, albeit on trial, leaves Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates' position in question.

Earlier this month Rodgers admitted the Uruguay international, who has made just nine appearances this season - only two in the Premier League as substitute, could go out on loan if adequate cover could be found.

Forren would be a cheaper signing for Saints than Italian international Davide Astori, who they have been keen to sign.

Astori’s club, Cagliari, are believed to be holding out for a fee of over £10m, having agreed a £12m deal with Spartak Moscow for the player last summer only for Astori to turn down a move to Russia.