Liverpool’s Premier League and Champions League-winning captain turned down a swap-deal move back in 2012 when Brendan Rodgers took the charge of the club.
for an €18.00m fee in 2011, and although the next year
then-new manager wanted to offload him in a swap-deal for
, he fought for his place and eventually became the Reds captain who lifted the Premier League trophy after 30 years.
The 30-year-old midfielder told
“That was a difficult moment I remember very clearly.”
“We were preparing for a [Europa League qualifying] game against Hearts at Anfield. We met as normal in the hotel and I got a knock on my door saying the manager wanted to speak to us.
“To be fair to Brendan Rodgers, it was really just a conversation. It was an opportunity I didn’t want and I didn’t like. I still felt I had an awful lot to give, but I was in a very dark place at that time.”
first season at Anfield, his skipper missed 19 Premier League games through a succession of injuries.
“When the manager first came, it was difficult for me because I was injured
,” he said.
“I kept getting niggles so it took a while to get the real me and my rhythm back.
“And then I began to play in a deeper role and that is thanks to Jurgen, because I don’t think many people would have seen how I could do that role. There were times when I wasn’t performing well. Then you would question if I was good enough.
“But I had confidence in the manager and kept working and I matured. I’m really grateful for having that opportunity because my all-round game has improved defensively and offensively.
“When we signed Fabinho, a natural defensive midfield player, I felt that was a good thing for me because I could play a little higher up. So when I had the conversation with the manager he was very open. But I don’t think he was going to play us there straight away.
“Not long afterwards I was on the bench at that Southampton game before I came on as an attacker and managed to score. I’ve matured even more since then.
“At the end of last year, I played more as a No.8, but with certain injuries I’ve had this season I’ve played a little deeper again. I feel I can contribute to both positions.”