Liverpool made an approach for England under-17 striker Max Clayton, according to Crewe boss Dario Gradi.
The Crewe teenager has been linked with numerous Barclays Premier League clubs in recent months, but penned a new deal with the Railwaymen in June.
And, according to Gradi, Liverpool had made an attempt to sign the 16-year-old, who opted to stay loyal rather than move to Anfield.
Gradi also claimed that Liverpool had acted illegally when making their move for Clayton.
"Max handled it very well," Gradi told the Sunday Express. "He didn't knock us at all.
"He had the chance to go to Liverpool, which might not happen again. I didn't think it was right for him and in any case it was an illegal approach.
"I couldn't stop him leaving in the June but he could see there would be first-team opportunities here. We offered five boys, including Max, identical contracts and they all signed them without any fuss.
"I am managing to keep them away from the big clubs but it's becoming harder. The scouts will always latch on to our games because they know they are going to see good players."
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