Liverpool wanted rid of Steven Gerrard two years before he left the club to join Los Angeles Galaxy in 2015, according to Michael Owen.
Boyhood Liverpool fan Gerrard graduated from the club’s academy just after Owen, signing a professional deal at the club 11 months after Owen signed his.
Owen departed for Real Madrid in 2004, with Gerrard resisting interest from Chelsea to remain at Anfield that summer.
Watch the Socceroos take on Kuwait in the first round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with Fox Sports on KAYO. Get your 14 day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Gerrard eventually left for LA Galaxy more than a decade later, but Owen believes the former Liverpool skipper was forced to depart for pastures new.
“In Steven’s case, I severely doubt whether he really wanted to go and play in the States in 2015,” Owen wrote in his new autobiography Reboot.
“I’ve heard that the club wanted him out two years prior to when he actually left.
“I’m sure he would rather have wound his career down at Liverpool, playing increasingly fewer games until he reached a point where he could be integrated into the coaching staff.
“This only happened later in his case. But instead, because he’d become so symbolic and so powerful, I believe he was forced out in the short term. Steven was bigger than the club.”
Owen has also let slip on both Alan Shearer and David Beckham in his new book, claiming he still holds some contempt towards the latter over his infamous red card at the 1998 World Cup and that his wife Victoria blamed him for the backlash her husband received.
“After that World Cup in France, few would argue that his and my paths were different,” he wrote. “I became the darling of English football for a period of time whereas he became the villain.
“The general feeling in the dressing room immediately after the match was that there was nothing to say about him getting sent off.
“What could any of us have said to him that would have changed anything? The damage was done.
“However, some time later, I got wind that Victoria was in some way disappointed in me.
“She felt, I was told, that while all the limelight was on me after the World Cup, I should have publicly and voluntarily come out and backed David.”
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.