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France’s Anelka signs for Liverpool

December 23, 2001

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PARIS, Dec 22: French striker Nicolas Anelka has been loaned to Liverpool from Paris Saint Germain till the end of the season with an option to buy, the capital city club said here Friday.

The PSG internet site said the deal came about because of the friendship between Liverpool’s French manager Gerard Houllier and PSG official Laurent Perpere.

Anelka has a chequered past, causing almost as many problems off the pitch for his own teams as he does on the pitch for opposing defenders.

The 22-year-old Anelka, who has 27 caps for France, returned to PSG at the beginning of last season for 218 million francs (29.5 million dollars) from Real Madrid, having originally moved to Spain from London club Arsenal.

Anelka has never really imposed himself at PSG since his move back to his native country.

The player, under contract at PSG till 2007, has also been at loggerheads with coach Luis Fernandez since the start of the season for tactical and other reasons.

Coming less than a month after the departure of crowd favourite Robbie Fowler, the move is bound to cause controversy at the north eastern English club.

Anelka must compete with Liverpool’s first-choice attacking duo of Michael Owen and Emile Heskey for his place in a possible starting 11.

Should Anelka not get many starts, it would jeopardise his chances of being picked at next year’s World Cup. Auxerre’s Djibril Cisse is a contender for a striker’s berth although it is said Anelka has the support of French coach Roger Lemerre.—AFP