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The midfielder, on loan at Everton, "came very, very close" to leaving Aston Villa for Anfield, but Reds supporters were not keen on the Manchester City man replacing Xabi Alonso

Liverpool fans made it clear they did not want Gareth Barry to join the club in 2009, according to the former England midfielder.

Barry, who will line up for Everton in the Merseyside derby on Saturday having arrived at Goodison Park from Manchester City on loan, was tipped to move to Anfield as Xabi Alonso edged closer to a departure for Real Madrid.

But the transfer away from Aston Villa never materialised as Rafa Benitez instead opted to sign Robbie Keane from Tottenham.

"I was very, very close to joining Liverpool," he told reporters. "I had told [Villa boss] Martin O’Neill I wanted to leave but ultimately they didn’t stump up the fee.

"The big thing with the Liverpool fans was that it looked like one of their favourites was leaving, in Alonso, and they looked at me as the reason for it. That’s fans I suppose, the fans heard he was leaving, I was coming in and put two and two together.

"I still remember watching a pre-season friendly and they made it obvious they weren’t keen on me coming in to replace him! He was a fantastic player and I can understand it.

"No-one knows what that move could have done for me, whether it would have been good for me and Liverpool, but there was nothing I could have done about it.

"But at the time they were in the Champions League regularly. I’d had a long spell at Villa and not experienced that. They were the only club showing an interest and I felt it would’ve been good for me, but in the end they chose to spend their money on Robbie Keane.”

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