Bartosz Bialkowski reveals Liverpool failed with a transfer move for him during his time at Southampton
The Reds had just won the UEFA Champions League in Istanbul a year prior to that. Rafael Benitez also signed Pepe Reina from Villarreal in the summer of 2005 to become Liverpool’s number one choice between the sticks.
Dudek was gradually reduced to a backup role and the Reds apparently wanted to sign Bialkowski as a third-choice goalie. Back then, he was a teenager and while he appreciated the interest from LFC, he chose to extend his deal with the Saints.
Despite a good start to life with Southampton, he never failed to become their first-choice goalie. A move to Notts County in 2012 meant he became a regular for the League One side, before Ipswich Town came calling in 2014.
“I was just under 19 when I jumped into the goal. After playing five games and despite my injury, Liverpool came for me. Then the club reacted quickly and offered me a new contract on much better terms.”
Something to regret?
It was with Ipswich that he became a trusted goalkeeper in the Championship. After five seasons with the Tractors, a move to Millwall followed, where he has missed just one league game in the last three seasons.
“The club from Anfield was then led by Rafael Benitez, and Jerzy Dudek was already a substitute then, because the Spaniard’s first choice was his compatriot Pepe Reina. I extended my cooperation with Southampton three times. I spent a total of six and a half years there.”
There seems to be a hint of regret in his statements. He says that he perhaps spent a little too long at St Mary’s, which is true. He could have progressed at a much better rate had he joined a club of either a higher stature during that time, or where he played regularly.
At 34, his career is slowly coming to a close. He is an established starter for the Lions and it remains to be seen if he ever gets to play in a Premier League game or a European match in his career.
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If he joined the Reds, he could have had a career as a trusted backup goalie. Liverpool loaned in Daniele Padelli that summer before failing with buys such as David Martin, Charles Itandje and Diego Cavalieri in the coming seasons.
Dudek too left LFC one year later when Real Madrid signed him in 2007. But that is something that Bialkowski may regret more than the Reds. Pepe Reina had a brilliant time on Merseyside before Simon Mignolet manned the posts for a good few years.