Spending almost all of his career at Rapid Vienna in Austria, Helge Payer, now retired, boasts 297 appearances for the club, during which he kept 91 clean sheets.

The now 42-year-old also picked up 20 caps for his country, the last of which came in 2009 in a 45 minute appearance against France in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

However, his career could have been a bit different had he accepted to join Liverpool when the Anfield residents came knocking for his services before the 2008 Euros.

His performances with Rapid Wien hadn’t gone unnoticed, and Transfermarkt, in an interview with the former goalkeeper, explain the Reds were keen, alongside Bundesliga clubs, to sign the Austrian.

Payer explained: “If the great Liverpool asks, you usually don’t think twice and sign the contract blindly, but back then, Austrians didn’t have the status they have today. My big sporting goal was to be the number one goalkeeper for Austria at the 2008 Euros.”

This made him think twice about joining Liverpool, especially because Pepe Reina was the starter at the time, and looked almost immovable.

Payer continued: “At the time, I thought about how realistic it was that I could get my playing time at Liverpool, and then realised that I might play, but it might also be that I would just sit on the bench. At Rapid, I knew I had a regular spot and had a high standing within the club and the fan scene.”

That’s why, ‘after long negotiations and deliberations, the goalkeeper finally decided to sign a long-term five-year contract’ with the Austrian side ‘and withdraw from Liverpool’.

Unfortunately for Payer, he would eventually miss out on the 2008 Euros due to injury, receiving the ‘shock diagnosis of venous thrombosis in the intestine and liver’ shortly before the competition after complaining of a ‘sudden pain the back, stomach and kidney area during training’.

A transfer to Liverpool most likely wouldn’t have changed his fate, but he was back on the pitch soon after, albeit with extra protective gear to make sure nothing happened going forward.