No less than seven players featured in Moscow's Champions League final last week that could have signed with Liverpool, it has been revealed.
Michael Essien also caught the Frenchman's eye but without the necessary finances Houllier had to look elsewhere for midfield reinforcements.
Rio Ferdinand was coveted before he moved from West Ham to Leeds but the £12.5m asking price was considered too high at a time when Houllier had to bolster several positions in his squad.
Nemanja Vidic was a target of Rafa Benitez having impressed for Serbia against Spain in World Cup qualifying games only for Liverpool to miss out when Man United entered the race for his signature and cranked up the price.
And, most famously of all, Liverpool led the race for Cristiano Ronaldo and could have signed him for just £4m and a four-year contract worth £1m a year only for Houllier and Phil Thompson to decide that those figures were too high for an 18-year-old who was unproven in the Premier League.