Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson claims he very nearly joined Stoke City instead of Jurgen Klopp’s side before the start of last season.
The former Hull City defender left the Tigers for Anfield in July 2017 for a fee believed to be in the region of £8 million ($10m).
Hull’s relegation to the Championship during the previous season had seen many of their star performers leave the club and Robertson was one that was always expected to move on after an impressive debut Premier League campaign.
The 24-year-old was linked with the Reds throughout the summer but says the slowness of the deal nearly saw him join Stoke City, who were also interested in securing his services.
“Stoke were quite interested in me. Mark Hughes had liked me and I think there was a wee bit of chat with them,” Robertson said in an interview with YouTube football channel Open Goal.
“So I was thinking they were a really good option; I think they finished top 10 that season and I was trying to get my head on a move to Stoke.
“I was thinking they were really keen, and at that point under Mark Hughes they were playing good football. They had Erik Pieters; I wasn’t sure if I was going in as back-up to him as he was flying that season.”
Robertson had to stay patient in the early stages of his Liverpool career, with Alberto Moreno firmly established as the club’s first-choice left-back at the start of last season.
But an injury to the Spaniard saw Robertson get his big opportunity to impress at the end of last year and he’s never looked back since.
Asked whether his struggle to initially get into the team was because of fitness problems, the left-back said:
“I don’t think it was down to fitness. It was down to my understanding. It took me a while to get used to the way he (Klopp) was playing.
“I played my first game against Crystal Palace and I got Man of the Match. But even when I look back on that now, the way I played that game is completely different to the way he wanted me to play.
He was happy with me that game, I walked off the pitch thinking ‘I’ve just done well there’, but now when I look at the way I play and the way he wants me to play, that game I didn’t do it.”
Robertson has five assists in 15 appearances for the Reds so far this season and is part of one of the most defensively solid teams in the Premier League.
Next up for Klopp’s side is a league clash with Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.