Southampton had a €12m bid for Philippe Coutinho accepted in 2012, according to former Saints executive chairman Nicola Cortese.
Coutinho, who was then playing for Inter Milan, joined Liverpool a year later and has become one of the best players in the Premier League, attracting interest from Barcelona over the summer.
However, Cortese told Jim White that the south coast club had an offer accepted for the Brazilian, but the deal ultimately failed to be completed.
With Coutinho presumingly rejecting the chance to sign for Southampton, the club proceeded to sign Jay Rodriguez, Gaston Ramirez and Steven Davis over the next year or so.
Southampton have signed a number of players Liverpool have then gone on to purchase, with Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana all swapping St Mary’s for Anfield in recent years.
The Reds could have looked to sign Coutinho had he impressed at Southampton, but instead bought the 25-year-old for £8.5m in 2013.
Coutinho has since gone on to be a hit on Merseyside, scoring 42 goals in 182 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
His form attracted interest from Barcelona during the summer and Coutinho was eager to leave Liverpool, handing in a transfer request as the Premier League side rejected three bids from the Catalan giants.
Coutinho missed the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, but has been included in Liverpool’s Champions League squad, with Klopp eager to reintegrate the former Espanyol midfielder as soon as possible.