September 27, 2010

LONDON (Reuters) -- Olympique Marseille coach Didier Deschamps turned down an offer to manage Liverpool before Roy Hodgson took over at the Premier League club in July, the Frenchman said on Monday.

Deschamps, returning to his former club Chelsea ahead of Tuesday's Group F Champions League clash, said he was flattered to have been approached but ultimately decided he could not walk out on his Ligue 1 employers.

"I am very proud that a club of the standing of Liverpool showed interest in me this summer," he told a news conference at Stamford Bridge.

"But, to be fair, it wasn't good timing. I had just started pre-season training with Marseille and I don't think the fans or the club officials would have been very pleased if after two days back I was looking to join another club.

"We [Deschamps and Liverpool] had a long meeting," he added, when asked how serious the offer was.

Deschamps spent the 1999-2000 season with Chelsea, winning the FA Cup with the west Londoners in the last FA Cup final at the old Wembley Stadium, and also played under their current coach Carlo Ancelotti in his time at Juventus in Italy.

Returning to Stamford Bridge as an opponent, Deschamps contemplated the impressive changes at the club since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over and shrugged off their inability so far to lift Europe's premier trophy.

"It's totally different to when I was here," he said.

"They've built another stand at the ground here, so it's really in another dimension to the Chelsea I used to know.

"I have very good memories. What I do remember is that we played in front of a full stadium every week and the fans were always right behind you, no matter what happened the fans would get behind the side."

Chelsea have lost their last two matches and will be without suspended striker Didier Drogba, a former Marseille player, for Tuesday's match but Deschamps shrugged off any suggestion that the English champions would be weaker for it.

"It's just one option less for Ancelotti," he said.

Chelsea will also be without Frank Lampard and forward Salomon Kalou but Deschamps did not think that would make much difference to the strength of the side Ancelotti fields.

"They have a big squad and lots of experience but a match like this is won on the little details, and I hope we win it."

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