Chelsea loanee Mohamed Salah has told MBC Masr that he was eager to join Liverpool and was close to moving to Anfield before being persuaded to move to London instead by then-Blues boss Jose Mourinho, as quoted by Goal.
Egyptian international Salah moved to Stamford Bridge in January 2014 in a deal worth a reported £11 million after impressing in a year-and-a-half with Swiss side Basel.
However, he failed to break into the Blues' first-team on a regular basis due to the quality and depth of competition in attacking midfield positions, and made just 19 appearances, scoring twice, before being shipped out on loan to Fiorentina in the second half of last season.
Things could have been very different for the 23-year-old, now on loan at Roma with a view to signing a permanent deal next summer, as he came close to joining Liverpool instead of the London club.
Salah revealed he was simply waiting for the two clubs to agree a deal but as negotiations with the Merseyside club went on for "a long time", with Basel rejecting offers from the Reds, Mourinho called the winger personally and convinced him that Stamford Bridge was the right destination for him.
Salah told MBC Masr, as quoted by Goal: "Liverpool had wanted me for a number of months. They had opened talks in October 2013. Negotiations took a long time, because Basel rejected more than one offer. They felt the transfer fee was not that high.
"I was waiting for Liverpool [to agree terms] because I really like Liverpool. I was eager to join them. But then I received a phone call from Mourinho and that changed everything.
"He explained the situation to me and told me that he needed me at Chelsea. That was one of the main reasons why I joined Chelsea. Mourinho told me that he thought I was a good player and that he wanted me to pick Chelsea."
In the event, Mourinho's powers of persuasion did not result in a successful time in England for Salah, who looks certain to complete a permanent move to Roma in the summer.
The Egyptian has impressed in the Italian capital, with his 12 goals in 34 appearances representing the most prolific campaign of his career.