The 21-year-old Romford-born midfielder left Merseyside in July in the hope of securing more first-team football following three years with the Reds.
Shelvey said: "I said to him (Gerrard) that I might have to go elsewhere to get football.
"He told me 'stay here, you'll get your chance' and it was great to hear that from him but I felt I needed to get away.
"You probably think I'm mad because that's turning him down to stay there but I felt I had to come away to play.
"I'm lucky that I've found my feet at a club like Swansea."
However, Shelvey paid tribute to Gerrard who he says has been a major influence on his career.
Shelvey added: "I've always tried to emulate him as a player. He has always been my favourite player but I suppose there comes a time in your life when you can't copy him. You have got to be your own player.
"I'm not going out there every game and saying 'I've got be like Steven Gerrard'.
"I play the way I play and if that's the way he plays, then brilliant because I'd be happy to have half the career he's had."
Swansea entertain Liverpool on Monday evening at the Liberty Stadium, a match that will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD (7.00pm).