Adam Lallana says he asked Jurgen Klopp to be honest with him and that is when the Liverpool boss told him to start looking for another club.
Lallana says the one-one-one chat between the pair took place in October 2019 and that is when he was told he would likely be leaving Anfield.
The 32-year-old spent six seasons with the Reds, capping his spell with a Premier League winners’ medal.
He left the club in the summer on expiration of his contract and joined Brighton on a free transfer.
It was the pursuit of first-team football that led the former Southampton man back to the south coast. He has started two games and made four Premier League appearances to date for the Seagulls.
Speaking about how his time at Anfield cam to a close, he told BBC Radio Five Live: “To give you a bit of an insight, I spoke to Jurgen (Klopp) in October of last year and just sat down and had an open conversation.
“We have a great relationship and I just said ‘what’s it looking like for me next year?’. I know I’m out of contract and I know I’m not playing regularly.
“Although I had a pretty big role in the squad around the team, I wanted a bit of honesty. He basically said to me in October, ‘get your agent to start looking for another club’.
“That doesn’t mean you’re not in my plans or he isn’t going to use me. Four days later he brought me on at Old Trafford and I scored the equaliser and I think that shows what type of person Jurgen is. He’s very honest.
“He said to me I deserve to be playing more and I deserve more game time and to be playing more. He couldn’t offer that to me so from then I had his blessing the club’s blessing to give my agent the go-ahead to speak to other clubs about next season, which is now this season.”
But it was always the intention for him to leave in the summer and Klopp agreed to put the player at risk after the restart of the season last summer.
“It is clear Adam will leave the club in the summer,” said the Reds boss in July.
“But now we have a difficult situation, but I will respect Adam a lot. And everything with Adam is sorted, let me say it like this.
“He is so fit, he is training, everything is fine. But yes, the future is his future, and if we need his help on the pitch we can get it. He is there.
“He trains 100 per cent but as long as we don’t need it, he will just train. That is the normal thing.”