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.
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.
John Terry was briefly made available by a then cash strapped Chelsea in 2003 and Houllier was keen to bring him to Anfield only for a change of ownership at Stamford Bridge to thwart him.
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.