Goalkeeper lifts lid on failed Liverpool deal: Manager “absolutely wanted me to join”

FREDERIC HERPOEL has revealed he rejected a move to Liverpool in 2001 because he feared losing his place in the Belgium national team.

Herpoel was with Belgian side Gent at the time when Reds boss Gerard Houllier made the approach for the goalkeeper.

The Belgium international was out of contract and was just a plane ride away from moving to Anfield.

However, the 42-year-old has revealed he feared losing his place in the Belgium squad for the 2002 World Cup and so pulled the plug on the move.

“I was out of contract and Gerard Houllier, then manager of Liverpool, absolutely wanted me to join,” Herpoel told newspaper La Derniere Heure.

“I just had to catch the plane and sign and I would be at Liverpool. But I didn’t do it because I wanted to realise my dream – to go to the World Cup.

“Robert Waseige [Belgium coach] was very clear – only regular players were in with a chance of being in the squad for the World Cup.

“I would not have been [a regular] at Liverpool so I turned down the offer to stay in the national squad.”

Herpoel eventually signed a new deal with Gent and stayed with the Belgian club until 2007, making a total of 328 league appearances.

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