LIVERPOOL were today facing a desperate battle to get back into the race to land Marouane Chamakh.
Rafa Benitez has long been an admirer of the Bordeaux striker and made the Morocco international his number one target for the summer.
Chamakh had become the most sought after Bosman transfer in European football but the Reds had forged their way into the lead for his signature last month.
The player's advisers had indicated that they wanted Chamakh to move to Anfield ahead of Arsenal but, despite Benitez's best efforts, it appears he is now headed for the Emirates.
Though Liverpool will keep fighting until the end to convince Chamakh to have a change of heart, it is going to be need a massive turnaround for that to happen.
Having invested so much time and effort in his attempts to woo Chamakh, missing out on a player who has attracted rave reviews in Ligue 1 would leave Benitez hugely frustrated.
He was convinced at the end of the transfer window that Liverpool would soon be in a position to announce Chamakh's signing.