Michael Owen explains why he joined Manchester United instead of Liverpool in 2009
Michael Owen claims he was desperate to return to Liverpool from the day he left the club in 2004 to join Real Madrid.
In fact, the former England striker says in Ring of Fire, a book by Simon Hughes about Liverpool players in the 21st century, that he had didn't want to leave Anfield at all and he had hoped to return after a year in Spain.
That plan didn't work out, and Owen joined Newcastle in 2005, (where a clause in his contract allowed him to join Liverpool for £12m after a year) and Liverpool's arch-rivals Manchester United four years later.
However, if Owen had his way he would have returned to Anfield ahead of going to Old Trafford, and claims he tried on numerous occasions to get a move back to the club where he began his career.
"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 says.
"'Does Rafa want me?' I'd say. 'Does Kenny want me? Does Brendan want me?' It was circumstance that stopped it happening. 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."
Owen had a chance to return to Liverpool in 2009, when his contract expired at Newcastle and the club were relegated. Hull City, Everton and Manchester United were interested, but the striker had his heart set on Liverpool.
However, the club's manager ended any hope of a deal being done and Owen joined United instead.
"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?"
Owen retired from football in 2013 after a season with Stoke City, he's currently a pundit with BT Sport and an international ambassador for Liverpool.