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Liverpool pay tribute to former forward Wayne Harrison after his death on Christmas Day, aged 46

Harrison also featured for Oldham Athletic during his career and the club say they are 'deeply saddened' by his passing due to suffering from pancreatic problems

Liverpool have paid tribute to their former forward Wayne Harrison following his death on Christmas Day at the age of 46.

In a statement on their official website, the Reds expressed their sadness at the news of the passing of a player who became the world's most expensive teenage footballer when he was signed as a 17-year-old by the Anfield outfit from Oldham for £250,000 in 1985.

Then-Liverpool boss Joe Fagan made the bid after Harrison scored an FA Youth Cup brace for Oldham in their 4-3 away victory against the Merseysiders in December 1984.

He was initially loaned back to the Latics but following his return to Liverpool his progress for thereserves was curtailed by a succession of injuries.

The Stockport-born player's misfortune continued during a pre-season reserves tour when he was involved in a near-fatal accident that saw him fall through a greenhouse and suffer a major loss of blood.

Harrison looked to have put those troubles behind him by the late 1980s and he was top-scorer with 17 goals from 28 games as the reserves clinched the Central League title in 1989/90.

A first-team breakthrough seemed on the cards but then another injury left him with irreparable damage to his knee and he was forced to call time on his career. After retiring he worked as a HGV driver.

In 1992, Liverpool and Oldham played a testimonial game in his honour at Boundary Park but, such was the severity of the injuries he had suffered, Harrison was unable to play any part.

Liverpool said Harrison died on Christmas Day after suffering pancreatic problems.

Their statement added: "The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool Football Club go out to his family and friends at this sad time."

On their website, Oldham said they were "deeply saddened" to learn of Harrison's death, adding: "We would like to extend our deepest condolences and sympathies on behalf of players, officials and supporters of Oldham Athletic to Wayne's family and friends at this sad time."