Liverpool are increasingly optimistic about signing Shakhtar Donetsk's £22m-rated midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan while uncertainty continues over the futures of Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll.

Brendan Rodgers has made the Armenian international a prime target as he seeks to inject "an extra 20 goals" into his team next season, having already agreed a £7.6m deal for the Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas.

Shakhtar's chief executive, Sergey Palkin, said last weekend that there had been no official contact with Liverpool about Mkhitaryan, 24, who scored a record 25 goals in the Ukrainian premier league last season, but an approach is believed to have been made and Anfield officials are hopeful about concluding the signing.

Carroll's reluctance to accept a £15m move to West Ham has had an impact on Liverpool's immediate transfer plans while Suárez has not handed in a transfer request despite his frequent claims of discontent with life in England. But Liverpool are nevertheless proceeding with the pursuit of the coveted Mkhitaryan.