Thirty-two-year-old has since moved to Goodison Park.
Everton midfield player Gareth Barry has revealed just how close he actually came to signing for city rivals Liverpool five years ago, only for the Reds fans to put an end to any thoughts that the Englishman may have had of moving to Anfield, according to reports in the Daily Mirror.
The experienced holding midfield player was playing and captaining Aston Villa at the time when Liverpool head coach Rafa Benitez first approached the Midlands outfit seeking to buy Barry.
However, when stories began to circulate in the national press that the Spaniard was trying to sign Barry as a replacement in midfield for popular Spaniard Xabi Alonso, who his compatriot intended to offload to La Liga giants Real Madrid, then the Merseysiders’ fans began to make their feelings clear on the matter.
And now Barry recalls watching a pre-season friendly between his prospective new employers and Serie A side Lazio in the summer of 2008 in which the home supporters expressed their outrage at the defensive midfield player’s imminent arrival at the club.
“I was very, very close to joining Liverpool. I had told Martin O’Neill I wanted to leave but ultimately they didn’t stump up the fee,” says Barry.
“The big thing with the Liverpool fans was that it looked like one of their favourites was leaving, in Alonso, and they looked at me as the reason for it. That’s fans I suppose, the fans heard he was leaving, I was coming in and put two and two together.
“I still remember watching a pre-season friendly and they made it obvious they weren’t keen on me coming in to replace him! He was a fantastic player and I can understand it.
“But at the time they were in the Champions League regularly. I’d had a long spell at Villa and not experienced that. They were the only club showing an interest and I felt it would’ve been good for me, but in the end they chose to spend their money on Robbie Keane.”