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The 31-year-old moved to Portsmouth and Tottenham before moving to Stoke and says that a change of ownership meant key players leaving when a title charge was on

Stoke striker Peter Crouch believes that his former employers Liverpool were close to winning the Premier League when he was at the club, but the change of ownership meant key players left.

The 31-year-old faces his former club on Boxing Day with the Potters and admits it was with a heavy heart that he left the club back in 2008 when he departed for Portsmouth after failing to win a place in the first team.

"It was disappointing, I don't think anyone ever wants to leave a club like Liverpool. It has such a fantastic history and I had some of the best times of my life there," Crouch told reporters.

"We finished second and won the FA Cup but, at the time, [Fernando] Torres was playing up front on his own and it was difficult for me to stake a claim.

"I had the opportunity to play games at Portsmouth. I was playing for England at the time and I thought if I sat on the bench at Liverpool, it could hinder my international chances.

"Obviously leaving Liverpool was a huge wrench but I look back on also the fact I had so many great memories there.

"It's very strange. When I was there the side we had was unbelievable, We were a couple of players from winning the league.

"We got to a Champions League final, won the FA Cup and finished second. The next step was to go on and win the league. But I think a change of ownership and different things led to a lot of players leaving for whatever reason."

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