Steven Gerrard has revealed he tried to convince world cup winner Toni Kroos and Brazil star Willian to join Liverpool during his time at Anfield. The German international is at Real Madrid, while the other is currently in the Premier League playing for Chelsea.
The former England international left the Merseyside club as a free agent and joined Major League Soccer (MLS) side LA Galaxy. He admitted the Reds boss Brendan Rodgers urged him to convince Kroos to make a switch to England.
The 25-year-old joined the Spanish capital club from Bayern Munich months after Real won the Champions League. Kroos' move to La Liga came after he won the world cup with his national side in 2014.
Gerrard admitted the former Swansea boss wanted him to persuade Kroos to join Liverpool. The midfielder went on to admit both he and Rodgers were aware of his potential and the latter felt the Reds could lure him to join them after they finished second in the 2013/14 season.
"Our target in 2014 was ridiculously optimistic. Brendan asked me to take a crack at trying to talk Toni Kroos into signing for Liverpool. He smiled when I said we'd be p*****g into the wind with this one," Gerrard said, as quoted by Goal.com.
"We both admired Kroos immensely. I knew Real Madrid were gearing up to make Bayern Munich an offer and so I felt a bit awkward when I texted Kroos. The German was on his way to winning the World Cup with his country and Real were the champions of Europe. But God loves a trier, and so I gave it a whirl.
"Some of the best footballers in the world can also be the most respectful. Kroos didn't make me feel like I was a total idiot. But, of course, he would soon sign for Real Madrid. We had a nice little exchange of texts and I said well done and good luck."
Gerrard: Liverpool held talks with Willian's agent
The Anfield favourite revealed Liverpool were in talks with Willian, while he was at Anzhi Makhachkala. Tottenham Hotspur were believed to have sealed his signature in 2013. However, a chance to play in the Champions League with Chelsea convinced him to snub the north London club and join the Blues.
"I slipped into the groove with Willian. I said hello and hoped he didn't mind me contacting him directly," the Liverpool legend explained.
"I stressed how much I admired him as a player and then, having mentioned that I knew Liverpool were speaking to his agent, I used the standard line: 'If you need to chat or ask any questions I'm available at any time.'
"It was the opening move in a familiar game. The reply came in and the same old conversation started. Willian thanked me and he said the usual, along the lines of, 'I'd love to play with you, Steven, blah-blah-blah, but there are other clubs who play in the Champions League I need to talk to as well.'
"I knew Spurs and Chelsea were also very keen on Willian. So I answered him and said, of course, I understood. But I then went in with my sales pitch. 'I think Liverpool would be a great move for you. The fans are amazing, the history is there and we're building a good team. You could do something great here - and we'd love to have you.'"