Vladimir Smicer has revealed there was a key man involved in his transfer to Liverpool 17 years ago.
The Kop legend signed for Gerard Houllier’s Reds from Lens in July 1999 for a fee of £4.2million.
Smicer had won the French league title with Lens in 1998 and he went on to become a cult hero at Anfield after scoring in normal time and notching from the penalty spot in 3-3 draw with AC Milan in 2005, which Liverpool won on penalties to lift the Champions League trophy.
But it could have been so different had Patrik Berger not aided his move to Merseyside.
“Patrik was the first to tell me Liverpool were interested in me because Steve McManaman could go to Real Madrid as he didn’t sign a new contract,” Smicer told the Express.
“He said, ‘There’s a place for you’. There were talks between the clubs and I had to wait because it was not easy but in the end it happened.
“He told me in January and so over six months we were hoping it was going to happen at the end of the season.
“I can say that even in May it was not done, I was not sure if I would really go or not because there was a question over the price.”
The Czech international went onto make 121 appearances and score 10 goals during his spell at Anfield and finally left on a free transfer for Bordeaux after six years on Merseyside.