Liverpool have intensified their interest in Manchester United target Ever Banega, [football] direct news understand. The Valencia midfielder, who is spending the rest of the season on loan at Newell’s Old Boys after falling out of favour with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, is still on United’s radar, a source close to the champions told FDN. Club record signing Juan Mata, who joined from Chelsea during the January transfer window, is a former Valencia team-mate of Banega – who Red Devils boss David Moyes thinks would be an effective foil for the playmaker. However, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hopes to throw a spanner in the works, according to an Anfield insider, and sees Banega as the man to provide more competition in an engine room robbed of the services of Lucas Leiva more than once this term due to injury. The 25-year-old’s contract has little more than a year left to run at the La Liga outfit.