Aston Villa have confirmed that they have rejected a slightly improved offer from Liverpool for England midfielder Gareth Barry.
The Reds are reported to have bid around £15million for the 27-year-old Villa captain, but Barry's current employers are holding out for a much higher fee.
A Villa spokesman told the club's official website: "The offer was a slight improvement on a previous bid, but our position on the issue remains unchanged and Liverpool have been informed."
Villa boss Martin O'Neill had previously reacted angrily to the Reds' first approach for the services of Barry, slamming Anfield counterpart Rafa Benitez for his public statements of intent.
However, more recently the Midlands club admitted that Barry was keen to move on, with a statement reading: "Gareth has stated in discussions with our manager he would like to leave Aston Villa to join Liverpool."
Barry's agent, Alex Black, further stoked up the fires by adding: "At this stage of his career, Gareth wants to be playing Champions League football and believes this is his chance to do it."