Former Liverpool forward Nicolas Anelka, who joined the club 20 years ago today, has admitted his love for the club and has explained why his loan move from PSG wasn’t made a permanent one.
The Frenchman scored five goals for the Reds in a short yet impressive loan spell which led supporters wanting the forward to remain on Merseyside – a move that he also was keen on.
“This is my biggest regret as well because I knew it was the perfect match,” Anelka exclusively told the Liverpool Echo.
“Everything was perfect! I loved everything about the club.
“I had an amazing relationship with the fans. I loved them and I think it was reciprocal.
“Looking back, I am proud to have worn the jersey of this legendary club and to have known this stadium and these amazing fans.”
The 42-year-old has revealed why he didn’t make the switch to Merseyside permanently, placing the blame on the late former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier.
“It’s simple: it didn’t happen because Gerard Houllier wanted to pay a lower salary.
“It’s acceptable but you have to say it.
“I wanted to sign from the first minute. Of course, a permanent move was discussed from the first day I joined the club.”
Anelka joined Manchester City the following season in a £13m move from the French club.
It’s always nice to hear our former players speak highly about the club, but it’s a shame at the same time when you realise how keen he was to join us on a permanent basis.
Houllier instead decided to sign El Hadji Diouf but the Senegal international failed to live up to expectations at Anfield and became more famous for other controversial incidents, rather than for his performances on the pitch.
Maybe there was more to the relationship that we don’t know between Anelka and Houllier but it’s nice to hear the former Chelsea man showing us a lot of respect.