STEVEN GERRARD feared Rafa Benitez wanted to sell him to Chelsea and use the £37.5million transfer fee to rebuild Liverpool.
The Londoners made several attempts to lure Gerrard to Stamford Bridge in the 2004-05 season but the midfielder eventually extended his contract with the Merseysiders six weeks after lifting the Champions League trophy in 2005.
Gerrard has since reflected on the transfer saga and admitted he regrets toying with the idea of a switch to Stamford Bridge but was very tempted by the offer.
The Reds legend, 43, told Gary Neville on Sky Sports Soccer Box: "I regret the little bit of flirting back then and how that all blew up.
"The fact is I didn’t know whether I was coming or going with Rafa at the time. Rafa was having conversations with me like ‘I know your agent is talking to Real Madrid and Chelsea’.
"I got a paranoid feeling at the time that Rafa would have taken money to try and build Liverpool on.
"Chelsea bid £37.5m. At the time, massive amounts of dough but what would you get for that now?”
Neville joked: “Half a Fred!”
He continued: "[Jose] Mourinho was a massive part of that. A lack of maturity on my part allowed me to think about it and flirt with that idea a bit.
"But now I have no regrets at all because Liverpool are the club I love – and that’s the way it should be.”
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Gerrard went on to earn legendary status at Liverpool and never played for any other club in Europe – he only left the Reds to spend 18 months at LA Galaxy before his retirement in 2016.
Chelsea in that time won both European competitions and triumphed in the Premier League five times.
While Gerrard finished his playing career with a Champions League, Uefa Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups.
The Kop icon turned his hand to management in 2017, taking up the role of Under-17s coach at Liverpool.
He took charge of Scottish giants Rangers in June 2018 and led the Ibrox club to the 2020-21 Scottish Premiership title.
A move to Aston Villa followed, but he didn't last long as he was relieved of his duties in October 2022 – less than a year after his appointment as Villans chief.
The 43-year-old now finds himself in charge of Saudi Pro League star Al-Ettifaq, with whom he inked a £4.8million-a-year deal earlier this month.
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