Liverpool had lined up a free transfer for German striker Max Kruse in 2019, only for the heroics of Divock Origi to see them pull out of a deal.
But it was ultimately defined by the goals of a player who only spent 669 minutes on the pitch over the course of the entire season.
Origi returned from a quiet loan spell with VfL Wolfsburg and, turning down a move to Wolves, settled back into the squad on Merseyside, going on to score seven times including an iconic brace against Barcelona.
“We had been on the phone with Jurgen Klopp since February,” he explained, with a free transfer from Werder Bremen lined up.
“It was like I was transferred to Liverpool, only the signature was missing. It would be the pinnacle of my career.
“However, things developed very differently.”
Kruse added: “The duo of Sturridge and Origi was going to be sold, I was going to sign. That was their plan.
“Then Origi started scoring many goals in the last part of the season. The club changed its mind after these goals.”
It had been reported during the second half of the season that Liverpool were among the clubs pursuing Kruse, with Daniel Sturridge‘s own contract set to expire.
But as the now 34-year-old continued to detail, Origi’s upturn in form prompted him to be let down gently by Klopp himself.
“Jurgen called me [and said]: ‘Sorry Max. The decision is to keep Origi. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to sign you’,” Kruse said.
“My transfer to Liverpool didn’t happen at the last minute. I was very upset.”
Kruse eventually joined Fenerbahce, only for a dispute over unpaid wages seeing him leave his contract early, after which he headed back to the Bundesliga with Union Berlin.
A return to Bremen followed in January of this year, only for his deal to be mutually terminated at the end of November after a disagreement with manager Niko Kovac.
It is perhaps no surprise, then, that Kruse could feel bitter about the last-minute collapse of his switch to Liverpool – though it may point to a bullet dodged for the Reds.
Liverpool have confirmed their initial 33-man squad for this month’s training camp in Dubai, which will include friendlies against Lyon and AC Milan.
The majority of the Reds squad flew to Dubai on Monday afternoon, with others already stationed out in the United Arab Emirates following their time off.
Jurgen Klopp will use the time away, which will be around two weeks, to focus on preparations for the second half of the campaign.
That will see rigorous training and clashes with Lyon (Dec 11) and AC Milan (Dec 16) in the Dubai Super Cup.
While six players are still at the World Cup, Klopp has been able to call upon a strong squad, with 33 players meeting on Monday and one more to follow.
The club’s official website notes that Diaz, along with Diogo Jota, Naby Keita and Arthur, is due to “work on individual rehabilitation,” but it had been previously reported that he is set to join team training.
Darwin Nunez is due to resume training next week, with Uruguay having already been knocked out of the World Cup.
Goalkeepers: Kelleher, Adrian, Davies, Mrozek, Pitaluga*
Defenders: Gomez, Matip, Phillips, Quansah, Robertson, Tsimikas, Ramsay, Chambers
Forwards: Salah, Diaz, Nunez**, Firmino, Jota*, Carvalho, Gordon*, Clark, Doak, Frauendorf, Stewart
** To join next week
After helping England beat Senegal at the World Cup, Jude Bellingham and Jordan Henderson were asked about playing together at Liverpool.
Bellingham assisted Henderson for the opening goal in Sunday’s 3-0 victory, setting up a clash between England and France in the quarter-finals.
It was a statement win for the Three Lions, and one that caught the eye of Liverpool supporters as their captain and the club’s No. 1 target combined.
Their relationship has come under the microscope while in Qatar, and both Henderson and Bellingham have been full of praise for each other in regular interviews.
But the subject of Bellingham joining Liverpool in 2023 remains off-limits, as Norwegian broadcaster TV 2 Sport discovered post-match.
“I’ve said it many a time: he’s a one-off,” Henderson said of his team-mate.
– Du ødela for alle!
Henderson og Bellingham ville ikke svare på alle spørsmålene fra journalistene! ? pic.twitter.com/YvjDZSkLhY
— TV 2 Sport (@tv2sport) December 5, 2022
“We need to let him enjoy playing football. He’s only 19, so let him enjoy playing football.
“He’s been incredible [not only in] this tournament but for a long period of time at Dortmund.
“He’s carried it on into this tournament and hopefully he can just keep going from strength to strength, keep working, keep doing the things he’s doing and being a big player for England.”
In response, the pair were then asked the question: “And Liverpool in the future?”
That ended the interview abruptly, with Henderson and Bellingham both walking away as the teenager jokingly said: “You’ve ruined it for all of them now. You’ve ruined it, man!”
There were no further questions, with the rest of the waiting media left to watch as the pair laughed it off.
Is there really no smoke without fire, though? Let’s hope so!
For the first time at the 2022 World Cup a Liverpool player got on the scoresheet, while three in total made it through to the last eight.Today at the World Cup
Two didn’t feature, one did in terms of Reds in Qatar. The one who did, our skipper, certainly made his presence felt.
It was an all important contribution from our skipper, who was very decent and constantly harassing the Senegal midfield, before bursting forward to end a counter with a low first-time finish.
England again lifted their game once the first goal went in and Jude Bellingham has a monster performer once again.
Interesting celebration between him and Hendo, too! The No8’s best performance in quite some time for club or country.
Earlier, France were comfortably the better side against Poland, though it was a little closer than they would have liked for the first half.
Mbappe was a joke though. Just relentless, unbelievable finishing and speed which cannot be matched.
England vs France in the quarters, then.LFC today
Luis Diaz, welcome back – we’ve missed you!
Our own relentless speedster down the left is about ready to return to training.
All went to plan in his rehab, say reports, and he’ll join in with first-team training again when the Reds are back in action over in Dubai.
Hopefully we’ll see all three of them in action across games with AC Milan and Lyon this month.Latest Liverpool FC news Something you may have missed…
There are plenty of Liverpool supporters who don’t watch England, or international action. That’s fine if so, but at the very least some praise for the LFC captain shouldn’t be missed.
This was an overdue big performance on a big stage.
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) December 4, 2022
32 – Aged 32 years and 170 days, Jordan Henderson is England's second-oldest ever World Cup scorer, after Tom Finney against USSR in 1958 (36y 64d). Wisdom. pic.twitter.com/0QoXkGEQQW
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 4, 2022
Jordan Henderson for England against Senegal:
100% duels won
100% long ball accuracy
100% shot accuracy
89% pass accuracy
8 accurate final third passes
6 ball recoveries
— Squawka (@Squawka) December 4, 2022
Jordan Henderson leaving the field to a standing ovation. His importance to the #ENG cause as clear as ever. Superb performance – and goal.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) December 4, 2022
Kalvin Phillips replaces Jordan Henderson. He has been excellent and totally justified Gareth Southgate's decision to start him again.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) December 4, 2022
Jordan Henderson currently with more World Cup knockout goals than Cristiano Ronaldo
— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) December 4, 2022
I just love Jordan Henderson being happy, and silencing critics.
Time and time and time and time and time and time again…
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) December 4, 2022
?Only one Jordan Henderson ? ??????????
— Chris Kamara (@chris_kammy) December 4, 2022
England take the lead through Jordan Henderson!! ????????
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) December 4, 2022Monday’s matches and LFC aspects
No other direct Reds interest, though former pair Minamino and Lovren will go up against each other.
It was the Jude Bellingham show as England overcame Senegal at the World Cup, including an assist for Jordan Henderson.
For much of the World Cup, Liverpool fans have kept a close eye on the blossoming relationship between their captain and the club’s priority target.
Henderson has struck up a strong bond with Bellingham, as a role model for the 19-year-old, who has been effusive in his praise of his fellow midfielder.
As England took on Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup on Sunday, they lined up together in a three-man midfield, and were central to a comfortable 3-0 win.
It took time for the Three Lions to find their breakthrough, up against a game Senegal side who tested Jordan Pickford early on, but when they did it was through the brilliance of Bellingham.
The Dortmund midfielder took it upon himself to break the lines in midfield, leading to a cutback for Henderson, who opened the scoring with a simple finish.
Their embrace in celebration showed the passion they both share – with Liverpool fans hoping they can enjoy that at club level, too.
Could get used to watching that combination. Brilliant from Bellingham, what a run and finish from Henderson.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) December 4, 2022
— Chris Mac (@chrismackop) December 4, 2022
Jordan Henderson goal, Jude Bellingham assist.
Beautiful midfield partnership. ?
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) December 4, 2022
Bellingham to Henderson… and that’s all she wrote ?
— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) December 4, 2022
What a half from Bellingham. Game-changer for whoever signs him. Hopefully Henderson got a deal over the line here… pic.twitter.com/vNi2a6x4H2
— Sean Bradbury (@seanbrad2) December 4, 2022
Another moment of magic from Bellingham gave England their second just before the break, riding challenges in midfield before feeding Phil Foden, who in turn teed up Harry Kane to make it 2-0.
Stunning work from Foden then crafted a third after the break, with Bukayo Saka the recipient of a fine cross to dink over Edouard Mendy.
It was an easy night for England after that, coasting to another big win as top scorers in the tournament so far.
The win sets up a quarter-final with France on Saturday, which will pit Liverpool players against each other for the first time in the tournament.
Though plans to remove the existing roof from the Anfield Road End during the World Cup have been postponed, expansion work is still well underway.
Due to the adverse weather conditions on Merseyside through the early months of the winter, a decision was made to pause plans to remove the roof from the Anfield Road stand.
But construction has continued throughout a long break for the World Cup, which has included an update to the Shankly Gates.
The Shankly Gates were first unveiled in 1982, the year after the legendary Bill Shankly passed away, and were moved further up Anfield Road as part of the Main Stand redevelopment in 2016.
They are now undergoing further improvements, with the walls attached to the gates being demolished in the latest phase in the stadium’s expansion.
Work on the Anfield Road End redevelopment, which will add another 7,000 new seats to the stand, is on course for completion by the summer.
During the World Cup, the structure has continued to take shape, and new images from Stratus Imagery show the scale of the site.
The framework is now in place to connect the new Anfield Road stand to the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand and the Main Stand, with the redevelopment involving an entirely new stand being built around the existing structure.
Upon completion, Anfield’s capacity will be 61,015, with the Anfield Road stand holding 15,967 spectators.
The expansion is believed to come at a cost of around £80 million, with no disruption to normal matchday activity, which will resume on December 30.