Liverpool are hopeful that they can still persuade Jose Mourinho to become their new manager, despite the fact that the Porto coach is believed to be close to agreeing to a move to Chelsea.

Liverpool have already earmarked several possible replacements for Gerard Houllier, who left the club on Monday, with Mourinho believed to be the preferred choice.

It is understood that Mourinho’s representatives contacted the club earlier this year to sound them out about the possibility of their client replacing Houllier. That approach was rejected, with the board backing Houllier at the time. Consequently, Mourinho switched his attention to Chelsea.

According to The Guardian newspaper, sources close to the west London club maintain that Mourinho was still “100% certain” to replace Claudio Ranieri at Stamford Bridge. However, the Porto man is believed to be wary about working alongside Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich and it is this concern that Liverpool will try to exploit.

Should Mourinho shun the Liverpool advances then attention will turn to rival candidates such as Valencia coach Rafael Benitez, Charlton boss Alan Curbishley and former Southampton manager Gordon Strachan.

“Who is most likely to make us become challengers,” said the club’s chief executive Rick Parry when asked about the prime criterion for the vacancy.

“Track record will be important, but that’s not to say that they must have managed in the Champions League or we’d be ruling out any English contenders. We want to see someone who has a passion for success.”