Michael Owen.

Michael Owen explains how Liverpool pushed him towards Manchester United move

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Michael Owen has revealed that he tried on several occasions to re-join Liverpool before ultimately ending up at their fierce rivals Manchester United in 2009.

In fact, in comments published in new book 'Ring of Fire', the former England striker claims that he tried to engineer a return to Anfield every summer after he left for Real Madrid in 2004.

Unfortunately for Owen, his requests fell on deaf ears regardless of who was in the manager's office on Merseyside. It was only after his final attempt was rejected by Rafa Benitez in 2009 that he accepted an offer from Sir Alex Ferguson to head to Old Trafford.

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"At every stage - every summer - I was on the phone to Carra (Jamie Carragher) telling him to find a way to get me back," Owen told Ring of Fire's author Simon Hughes, via the Mirror.

"Does Rafa want me?' I'd say. 'Does Kenny want me? Does Brendan want me?' It was circumstance that stopped it happening."

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Before less than successful stints at Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City, Owen was a prolific striker in the red of Liverpool.

His 158 goals for the club mean he is still ranked number eight in Liverpool's all-time scoring charts.

Liverpool v Manchester City

Injuries plagued the latter part of his career, however, and they - alongside a competition for places - also played a part in scuppering any potential return to his first club.

"Whenever I was available, Liverpool had too many strikers. And when Liverpool wanted me, I was injured.

"By the end, I wasn't the player I had been before and they simply didn't fancy me. I wasn't good enough.

"I spoke to Carra and tried to get (Rafa) Benitez to do something. I wanted to try to put it right somehow.

"When it became clear Benitez didn't want to do a deal, I spoke again with (Alex) Ferguson. He was very positive about me. I was twenty-nine years old. Should I have decided to retire there and then?"

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson

It is interesting to hear Owen so openly admit how hard he tried to manufacture a return to Anfield.

However, considering how his career panned out after linking up with the Red Devils, there might not be too many Liverpool fans upset that he was constantly turned down by the Merseyside club.

In three years at Old Trafford, Owen scored 17 goals but was largely restricted to a bit-part role as groin and thigh injuries limited his impact.

It would have been interesting to see how Owen would have performed if he'd arrived back at Liverpool so soon after his move to Spain.

In the end, though, it will have to go down as another of football's great unknowns.

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Michael Owen
England Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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