Ex-Times journalist Tony Barrett for Joe.co.uk, has revealed that Mourinho had sent people to Anfield in March 2004 to proposition the Reds.
Mourinho’s agent Jorge Baideck made the short trip from Manchester, where his team was based, to Liverpool with a French agent in tow who had done recent business with the Merseyside club.
After meeting Houllier, the pair were quickly to arrange another meeting with Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry. It was then that Baideck declared, ‘Jose Mourinho would like to come and manage Liverpool.’
‘Enchanted’ is a world Barrett uses to describe how Mourinho felt about the idea of working at Anfield, while the Portuguese is said to have decided that Liverpool was ideal for him after going through with plan to leave Porto that summer.
Although Houllier would actually go on to leave Anfield that summer anyway, it is stated that no decision had been made at the time Mourinho’s team came through the door. Liverpool were also not prepared to arrange their managerial future so suddenly and without full consideration.
And because Liverpool would not commit, Chelsea were able to steal in and secure Mourinho – they, unlike the Reds, had apparently already decided to cut their manager, Claudio Ranieri, loose.
Barrett notes that the Anfield club remain unconvinced Mourinho would have been the rip roaring success at Liverpool that he proved to be at Chelsea and Inter Milan after that.
His budget would have been far smaller than in London where Roman Abramovich was pumping money into Stamford Bridge, while new Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez won the Champions League at the first attempt, beating Mourinho’s expensively assembled Chelsea side en-route to the final.