Liverpool are ready to lock horns with rivals Chelsea for the summer signature of River Plate defender Eder Balanta, [football] direct news understands. Sources close to both clubs told FDN the 21-year-old centre-half tops their respective shopping lists, with the Reds entering the race at the 11th hour following Chelsea’s long-term interest. The Colombia international is also believed to be firmly on the radar of La Liga giants Barcelona and the Premier League clubs know they will have another battle on their hands if the Catalan heavyweights firm up their admiration with an end-of-season offer. A host of European scouts have returned to their respective clubs with glowing reports on the jet-heeled defender, who made his debut for the senior Colombia side against Tunisia at the beginning of March. A release clause in his contract means he could leave River Plate for a fee in the region of 12million, although the Argentine outfit could ask to have him back on loan for a season.