Nicolas Anelka has denied he ever wanted to leave Liverpool and insists he was desperate to seal a permanent move to the club.

The former striker spent half a season on loan at Anfield during his time at PSG, and helped The Reds to what was at the time their highest ever league finish of second.

Ex-Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier had swooped to land Anelka to boost his attacking options but then opted against signing him permanently when the 2001/02 season ended.

Speaking the following September, Houllier said: "I don't want to expose the reasons why I didn't want to sign him, but I think he knows why and it has nothing to do with football."

Houllier (L) chose not to sign Anelka for non-football reasons
Houllier (L) chose not to sign Anelka for non-football reasons

"Liverpool fans think I didn't want to stay,” he said on Netflix documentary Misunderstood about his career."They need to know that that wasn't the case.

"That episode was tragic for me. It's a club where I could have done great things."

Despite arriving with a reputation as a bit of a troublemaker, Anelka made an immediate impact, and contributed five goals and three assists in the back half of the campaign to win over the Liverpool fans.

However Houllier was not sold on the forward, instead choosing to sign notorious football bad boy El Hadji Diouf after his starring performances for Senegal at the World Cup.

Liverpool spent £10m on Diouf instead who flopped at Anfield
Liverpool spent £10m on Diouf instead who flopped at Anfield

Diouf ultimately turned out to be a handful and flopped on Merseyside, while Anelka rejuvenated his career at Man City - though Houllier was later adamant he had no regrets about his decision.

Anelka's return to the Premier League had been met with much anticipation following his exploits at Arsenal some years prior, and it was his form there that convinced Real Madrid to shell out £23million for him in 1999.

But even though he scored in the Champions League final triumph the following year, Anelka does not look back on his time as a Galactico fondly.

"I understood what it meant to be a star when I joined Real Madrid, and I hated it," he said.

“After the press conference, I went to the changing room. I got there first, sat down, but players kept coming up to me and saying: ‘That's my spot’. I would say: ‘Oh, sorry. Can I sit here?’ and then another player would come up and say: ‘That's my spot’.

“It happened maybe 20 times. I just thought: ‘What am I doing here? This is going to be hostile’. What I experienced that day was just the beginning of the nightmare."

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