Liverpool 'contact' revealed in race for £8m playmaker

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Liverpool reportedly made an attempt to sign Stephen Ireland last summer but the move was blocked by Manchester City.

The 24-year-old playmaker subsequently joined Aston Villa in a deal which saw James Milner move in the opposite direction but was shipped out of Villa Park in January - moving to Newcastle on loan.

Ireland has endured quite a fall from grace since being named City's Player of the Season for 2008/09 - an accolade which saw him rewarded with a new five-year contract.

The departure of Mark Hughes from Eastlands signified the start of Ireland's downward spiral and the Irishman soon fell out of favour after Roberto Mancini took the City reigns.

An exit from Manchester was always predicted during the summer transfer window and the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham were reportedly monitoring Ireland's situation with great interest.

However, the midfielder has revealed that - despite contact from both Liverpool and Manchester United regarding a potential transfer - City opted not to sell the £8 million-rated Ireland international to a Barclays Premier League rival.


"I saw Shay Given the other day, Arsenal want him but he can't go as City don't want to strengthen a rival," Ireland told So Foot.

"It was the same with me, I had contacts with Manchester United and Liverpool but City vetoed it."

Liverpool were also linked with Ireland in January but were reported to have doubts over his fitness, although a summer move could still be in the offing.

The Reds are known to be keen to add some midfield creativity to their ranks as of June 1 and Ireland could provide Liverpool with the extra invention they so crave.

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