I really thought Rafa wanted me sold

Rangers boss, Steven Gerrard, has again spoken of how close he came to leaving Liverpool for Chelsea.

The Blues were heavily linked with Gerrard after the Reds’ disappointing 2003/04 season and tabled a £20million bid for the midfielder.

The Englishman opted to stay at Anfield under their new manager Benitez and the pair led Liverpool to glory in the 2005 Champions League final in Istanbul.

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Chelsea were not deterred by Liverpool’s European success and tabled a much-improved offer for Gerrard in July 2005.

Again, the Reds rejected the offer and Gerrard went on to sign a new four-year deal with the club.

“I regret the little bit of flirting back then and how that all blew up,” Rangers boss Gerrard told Sky Sports.

“The fact is I didn’t know whether I was coming or going with Rafa (Benitez) at the time. Rafa was having conversations with me like ‘I know your agent is talking to Real Madrid and Chelsea’.

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“I got a paranoid feeling at the time that Rafa would have taken money to try and build Liverpool on.

“Chelsea bid £37.5million. At the time, massive amounts of dough but what would you get for that now?”

Gerrard also explained the prospect of playing under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea was an enticing one.

He added: “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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