By Deputy Editor Harvey Byrne
Joey Barton has revealed in his newly-published autobiography that Steven Gerrard “agitated” for Liverpool to sign him in 2004.
The 34-year-old’s book, to be published on Thursday, delivers a typically outspoken account of his controversial career.
One subject he did bring up was how he met Gerard Houllier and verbally agreed a move to the Reds, with Steven Gerrard keen to play in midfield alongside him.
“Had things panned out differently, I could have made the obsessive debate about the mutual suitability of the Gerrard-Lampard axis redundant,” writes Barton in No Nonsense, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “From what I gathered, Steven Gerrard agitated to get Liverpool to sign me in 2004, because he felt we had the potential to forge a partnership.
“I met with Gerard Houllier at Melwood, and agreed everything verbally.
“A deal was close to being concluded but then he was sacked that summer. It was never revived.”
Rafa Benitez took charge of Liverpool, replacing Houllier in the summer that Barton’s talking about.
The Spanish boss brought in three midfielders during his first summer in charge with Antonio Nunez, Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso all moving to Anfield.
Barton was part of the Liverpool academy before moving to Manchester City in 1997.
The midfielder is known for being a controversial character and the Reds may have had a lucky escape, as after 2004 he served a prison sentence, assaulted team-mate Ousmane Dabo in training and was also handed a 12-match ban after being sent off on the final day of the 2011-12 season for violent conduct against Manchester City.
He is also currently serving a three-week suspension from current club Rangers after having a bust-up with team-mate Andy Halliday in training.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Jurgen Klopp advised Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan on a move to English football in the summer.