Nuri Sahin has denied he joined Liverpool instead of Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid because he was offered a better financial package. The midfielder appeared ready to sign for Arsène Wenger's side before Brendan Rodgers persuaded the 23-year-old to move to Anfield, with reports suggesting Liverpool would pay him more.
Sahin, who is in line to make his debut against Arsenal on Sunday after Liverpool paid £5m to Madrid for his temporary services, said: "Money? You don't know me very well if you think I would go for money. If it was about money I wouldn't be here. I had quite a lot of offers that would have allowed me to earn three times as much as I will earn here.
"I turn 24 next week and I don't care about money. I know that I will earn a lot of money in my career if everything goes well and it would be impossible in my situation and in my mind to put money above playing football. I could have gone to many places and earned much more than here. The only reason I am here is that I know that I can play football, I know that I have a manager who trusts in me and the way I play, and I am at a huge club. That is why I am here."
Sahin, the 2011 Bundesliga player of the year with Borussia Dortmund, is clear that Rodgers's philosophy was the deciding factor. "The manager told me about his thinking, about how his team is going to play football and about how he sees me fitting into the team," the Turkey midfielder said. "We talked about football."
José Mourinho, the Real Madrid manager, was Rodgers's mentor at Chelsea when the Northern Irishman coached the academy, but Sahin denied Mourinho persuaded him to choose Rodgers ahead of Wenger: "I know that they know each other but he didn't tell me to go here or go there. He told me about English football and said that I would love the Premier League because it is the best league in the world. I made my own mind up about Brendan Rodgers."
Asked if it was difficult to turn down Arsenal and playing in the Champions League, Sahin said: "It is a big challenge to take Liverpool back to where they belong. It will be difficult to get into the top four but we have such quality in the squad and with the new manager we can play some good games. The challenge for us will be to hold down the quality over 38 games, but we are here to go for it."
Sahin had an on-field spat with Arsenal's Lukas Podolski during a Bundesliga match two years ago when the German played for Köln, but Sahin said the prospect of Podolski becoming a team-mate was also not a factor in him choosing Liverpool. "No. Definitely not," Sahin said. "I don't have any problem with him. It happened on the field, two or three years ago, and that was it."
Sahin drew comparisons with his time at Dortmund under Jürgen Klopp. "When I spoke to my family, I told them that Brendan Rodgers is a bit like Jürgen Klopp in the way he thinks about football. Dortmund and Liverpool are similar as well. The people are crazy about the clubs, the stadiums are fantastic and the way they want to play football with a high tempo and high-level passing is also similar, so that made my decision easier.
"In the first season when Klopp arrived we were sixth [in 2008-09], then the next we were fifth. Then we became champions and last season Dortmund were champions again. That's because of a long-term project and I think Brendan Rodgers will bring his mind about football to Liverpool. As a club, and with the supporters, there will be only one way and that is up."
He added: "Here the people will honour everything you do so it's a big challenge as a team. I'm not here to be a hero. As a team we can become heroes because I don't know how long it's been without playing in the Champions League – three seasons? To bring them back to those nights on Tuesday and Wednesday will be perfect."
Last season was disrupted by injury for Sahin and he was unable to make an impact as Madrid won the Spanish title. "I had a knee [problem] for three and a half months and after that I was fit," he said. "The only problem was getting into the team because last season Real Madrid ended up getting 100 points.
"I have a lot of self-confidence to say that I can play if the manager trusts me. I'm not the kind of player who takes the ball, dribbles around four or five players and shoots on goal. I'm the player who likes to control the game, who likes to pass, to get the team on a tactically high level."
Sahin was in Istanbul seven years ago to witness Liverpool's comeback from 3-0 down against Milan to win the Champions League. "At half-time it was 3-0 and the people were crying. Then Dietmar Hamann comes on and the game changes."
Sahin also did not rule put a permanent move from Madrid. "Everyone will be happy if I have a difficult decision," he said.