Steven Gerrard says he would not be leaving Liverpool if the club had offered him a contract last summer.
The Reds captain, 34, was offered a new deal in November but has opted to end his 25-year Anfield stay and is nearing a move to Los Angeles Galaxy.
"If a contract had been put in front of me in pre-season I would have signed it," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.
The midfielder says a November chat with manager Brendan Rodgers about reducing his playing time was crucial.
Gerrard, who joined Liverpool's academy at the age of nine, was offered a 12-month extension to his deal that month.
But he was only a substitute for a high-profile Champions League fixture at Real Madrid and for the Premier League visit of Stoke City.
Though he says he is "not angry" about the contract offer, he admits his stance would have been different had a deal been on the table after the 2014 World Cup.
"I'd just retired from England to concentrate all my efforts on Liverpool," added Gerrard, who has scored 182 goals in 696 appearances for the club. "I didn't want my club games to be tailored.
"My injury record had been fantastic for the past two and a half years and I had a great season from a personal point of view last season.
"It's all ifs, buts and hindsight now. That period between the summer and the end of November gave me thinking time."
Since being left on the bench in Madrid on 4 November, Gerrard has completed seven of the Reds' 10 Premier League games.
In all, he has contributed nine goals in 27 appearances in a testing season for Liverpool so far but insists his decision to leave has "nothing to do" with recent results.
His former team-mate Jamie Carragher has been one of a number of pundits to question the decision to allow a player regarded as one of the best in the club's history to leave.
"It simply came down to the fact that the idea of becoming a squad player didn't excite me or motivate me," added Gerrard, who will earn about £6m over 18 months at LA Galaxy.
"I've never wanted to be a squad player. If I was missing games now, I'd be sitting out even more next season. I knew it would get worse and worse as time went on."
|AFC Wimbledon's Adebayo Akinfenwa begs Gerrard to stay|
|I said 'don't go, man - look, I will tell you this now, I am a fan, don't go'. Look, nobody can begrudge Steven Gerrard doing what he wants to do. He has just been a legend - class. If he needs to go to pastures new, so be it.I think it is down to Liverpool to try and do everything to keep him, but if he has made his mind up, he has made his mind up.All you can do is wish him on his merry way and hope he comes back as manager one day.|