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‘Liverpool could do with Rooney!’ – Former Reds striker makes bizarre transfer claim

4:39 PM GMT+4 06/08/2019
Wayne Rooney MLS DC United 03162019 ISI
Dean Saunders believes the former Manchester United and Everton star would be a useful addition to Jurgen Klopp’s ranks at Anfield

Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has claimed that Wayne Rooney would be a useful addition to Jurgen Klopp’s squad, despite the 33-year-old’s strong ties to Everton and Manchester United.

England’s all-time leading goalscorer appears to be heading home from a stint in MLS with D.C. United.

Championship side Derby have emerged as shock candidates to secure his signature, with a player-coach role being mooted for a man already planning for the day when he has to hang up his boots.

Saunders believes a forward with over 200 Premier League goals to his name could still do a job at a higher level and has bizarrely suggested that those at Anfield should have been in the market for a man who has previously taken in iconic spells with their fiercest rivals.

He told talkSPORT: “I think the whole thing is a mystery [that he left England in the first place].

“When he left Everton he was top of assists, he and (Gylfi) Sigurdsson were level, he was top goalscorer and had the most key passes, and they let him go.

“He was still only 31 at the time, he scored 250 goals for Manchester United and he’s England’s highest scorer.

“He’s still 33, he’s not 35.

“30 now is not the 30 that we knew, with the nutrition and everything. I know he hasn’t lived his life perfectly, but who has? And he started young at 16, so an argument could be that he’s played all that time and he’s burned out.

“But he could definitely still play in the Premier League and a club should have gone for him.

“Have you seen the goals he’s scored in America? He must be thinking to himself, ‘this is not a challenge for me’.

“I was even thinking, it crossed my mind, if he’s fit and he’s hungry, you know who need that type of player? Liverpool.

“They could do with someone who can play in midfield and turn defence into attack, hit defence-splitting passes and score goals.”

Saunders began to backtrack once it became clear that his suggestion was preposterous, but the ex-Derby forward maintains that Rooney should be looking for a top-flight challenge in January rather than a second-tier one with the Rams.

He added: “Obviously Rooney probably wouldn’t get in Liverpool’s team, but he could definitely play for other Premier League teams, maybe mid-table; he could get in Crystal Palace’s team, he could get in Aston Villa’s team.

“The only reason he’s not playing for a top-six club is because his legs are not what they were, and maybe because the candle inside, that burning desire, maybe that’s not as bright as it was.

“You’d have to get him in, look him in the eye and ask, ‘Wayne, are you here for the ride or are you here because you’ve got that Wayne Rooney fire in your belly where nobody takes the ball off you, you want to win and you want to drive your team-mates on?’

“But it’s a great signing for Derby if he signed for them.”