Liverpool were potentially a phone call away from missing out on signing Philippe Coutinho in January 2013 after having their advances for then-Blackpool winger Tom Ince rebuffed, according to The Telegraph.

The Brazil international, then a relatively unknown 20-year-old, had been the subject of numerous scouting reports, which convinced Brendan Rodgers to sign the youngster for just £10m from Serie A giants Inter Milan.


But before Rodgers had become aware of the Inter prodigy, the Reds boss and his scouting team had been in conversations about a potential move for ex-Red Tom Ince, who had been impressing for Championship outfit Blackpool.

The former Swansea manager followed up that interest with a £5m bid in December 2012 for the winger, but Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston refused to budge on his stance over Ince and did not answer Liverpool's phone call.

Blackpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers - npower Championship

Liverpool, who were also looking at Benfica's Lazar Markovic, whom they would later sign in 2015, turned their attentions to Coutinho in Italy.

The young Brazilian had been struggling after a fine start to his Inter career, but impressed during a season-long loan deal with Espanyol, who were managed by Mauricio Pochettino at the time.

Real Madrid CF v RCD Espanyol  - Liga BBVA

The Argentine had by that time joined Southampton and the Saints were also keen on bringing Coutinho to the Premier League. Both Premier League clubs had been boosted by the news Inter were in financial trouble and were willing to let Coutinho leave for a relatively small fee.

But Liverpool, aided by South American scout Fernando Troiani, moved in quickly to sign the 20-year-old, who was also keen on a move to Anfield, for just £10m.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Liverpool v Hull City - Premier League