Jose Mourinho was at one point in his career close to becoming manager of Liverpool, according to current Anfield boss Brendan Rodgers.
Speaking ahead of the crucial Premier League title showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday, Rodgers revealed that his counterpart could just as easily have gone to Anfield over Stamford Bridge at one point. It was when he was in charge at Porto, claimed Rodgers, that an opportunity arose for him to take over at Liverpool but he eventually moved elsewhere, to experience some success.
“There is no doubt that there was a period back in the early 2000s, that this club was a possibility for him,” Rodgers is quoted as saying in The Mirror.
“Maybe resources were different and he had a better opportunity to go elsewhere but make no mistake, he knows the size and prestige of Liverpool."
Rodgers and Mourinho are good friends as the 'Special One' took the northern Irishman under his wing as a young coach when in his first spell in charge at Chelsea. Since leaving the Chelsea coaching set up for the manager's job at Watford, Rodgers has experienced an abortive spell at Reading before taking Swansea City into the Premier League and eventually getting the Liverpool job in 2012.
The Reds are now five points clear at the top of the table and face second-placed Chelsea on Sunday in what could define where the Premier League trophy is heading come May. Mourinho has a Champions League second leg against Atletico Madrid on the following Wednesday to think about and he has threatened to play a weakened side, but Rodgers believes his rival knows the weight of the occasion and will not take it lightly.
"There has been a history there, what with the rivalry and it was a great rivalry between the clubs, but beneath it all he knows the power of Liverpool for sure," he added.
Rodgers has done a terrific job at Liverpool this season in taking them to the brink of winning the title when nobody expected him to do it. However, like Mourinho, Rodgers could have ended up at one of the Reds rivals had the Portuguese coach not advised him otherwise.
The report claims that Tottenham Hotspur were also keen on recruiting him when it became clear he would be leaving Swansea, but Mourinho's words meant Anfield was the destination.
"He told me to take the job and what a great club Liverpool was. I had spoken to him about it, he encouraged me about the sheer scale of the club,” Rodgers explained.
“I was talking to him about a choice I maybe had, but he knows the size of this club. I understand full well the Liverpool-Chelsea rivalry and in that period maybe it was the managers and that was the rivalry."