John Terry spent a large chunk of his playing career in combat with Liverpool, yet it has now emerged that he was ready to agree to a transfer to Anfield.
Terry became Chelsea legend as he won a huge collection of trophies with the west London club, but former Liverpool coach Phil Thompson has revealed the centre-back was ready to move to Merseyside in 2003 after a chat with Reds boss Gerard Houllier.
“In the final game of the 2002/03 season, it was a shoot-out between Liverpool and Chelsea for the last Champions League place,” Houllier’s former assistant Thompson told Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast.
“This was just before Roman Abramovich came in (and bought Chelsea). We’d heard Chelsea were in dire straits, and they weren’t going to offer Frank Lampard or John Terry a contract.
“After the game, as Chelsea were doing a lap of honour, Gerard Houllier said to me that Terry was a bit of a player. I agreed, adding I didn’t think they’d offered him a contract.
“So Houllier went and shook John Terry’s hand and asked ‘how would you like to play for Liverpool?’ and John said: ‘I’d love to, Mr Houllier.’
“After, we sent one of our coaches into the players’ lounge and asked John for his agent’s phone number. John said: ‘I’ll do more than that, here’s my personal telephone number, ask him to give us a call’.
“A couple of weeks later, Abramovich took over, and his first dealings were signing Terry and Lampard to big contracts – so we were that far away from getting him.”
Terry, 40, is now assistant manager to Dean Smith at Aston Villa.
He played for the club and retired in 2018 after joining from Chelsea in 2017.
Terry made 717 appearances for Chelsea and won a Champions League title, five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, and the Europa League.
Klopp unlikely to spend in January
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down the likelihood he will utilise the January transfer window to ease his problems in central defence – but did drop the smallest hint he could look to spend.
However, Klopp’s assertion “not all clubs have real money” and “doing ‘something’ makes no sense” suggests the Reds boss is happy to continue with the options he has at his disposal. That is, unless, a gilt-edged opportunity arises.
Liverpool currently have no fit senior centre-backs. Both Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees with serious knee injuries. Joel Matip, meanwhile, is sidelined for three weeks with a groin problem.
Fabinho has had to play the majority of the games in defence to cover. Klopp, meanwhile, has relied on rookies Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips. The latter’s only appearance before this season was a solitary FA Cup tie a year ago. That came when he was recalled from a loan spell at Stuttgart specifically to play.
Klopp, however, is reluctant to spend just for the sake of it.
“We have solutions in the squad obviously but we struggled still with injuries,” said Klopp.
“For most of the time with centre-half position. It can happen like this when it starts and does not stop.
“So we have solutions in the squad, and if we can, or if we will do something in the winter, I just don’t know.”
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