Nicolas Anelka’s brief spell at Liverpool is easily forgotten.
He arrived on loan from PSG in 2001, but when it came to the summer of 2002 and the Frenchman thought Liverpool would sign him, Gerard Houllier had decided to go for El Hadji Diouf instead.
Anelka joined Manchester City, while Diouf went on to become maybe the worst signing in the club’s history and a rightly hated figure amongst the fans for his performances on the pitch and his conduct off it.
But Anelka has long claimed he wanted to stay at Anfield because of a connection with the fans, and has doubled down on this in a new Netflix documentary about his life.
“I waited but nothing happened. Liverpool fans think I didn’t want to stay. They need to know that wasn’t the case. I really wanted to stay. And that’s why that episode was tragic for me – because it’s a club where I really could have done great things,” he said.
Anelka’s talent was ludicrous, but he still had some problems with his attitude and behaviour after leaving the Reds, ending up at multiple clubs – most notably Chelsea – where he missed the penalty which lost them the Champions League against Manchester United.
Had he stayed on Merseyside, who knows what would’ve happened. He’d have been darn sight better than Diouf though, that’s for sure.
The Senegalese seemed an exciting option at the time, but how wrong we all were!