Joey Barton: I verbally agreed move to Liverpool after Gerrard told Houllier to sign me

“I was in Dubai when I was informed that he had instead decided to sign a kid from Real Sociedad who had just broken into the Spanish national team.

“That turned out to be £10.7m well spent. Xabi is one hell of a player, whose passes have a great range and accuracy.

“Whenever we played, I sought to get the game on my terms, which were relentlessly physical.

“(In 2009) Thirteen minutes remained. Liverpool were two up, cruising and playing keep ball. The Kop conducted an incessant, infuriating chant of ‘Ole, ole, ole!’

“Xabi retained the ball near the corner flag fractionally longer than was prudent.

“That gave me the opportunity to fly in, and disguise my malicious intent as best as I could.

“Alonso milked the moment with a barrel roll. I expected a yellow and was shown a red.”

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