Lucas Leiva has been a loyal servant at Liverpool and Ben Lovering believes he deserves a fitting send off.
Lucas Leiva has accumulated 233 first team appearances for Liverpool football club. Having joined in 2007 from Brazilian club Grêmio, his time here has been one of ups and downs. Currently in his ninth year for the Merseyside club, he’s only ever scored six goals across all competitions.
The Brazilian is a player who has split opinions amongst fans. Some people, myself included, would regard him as a club legend, as surely almost ten years at a football club warrants that kind of title, yet there are others who feel nothing but hatred for him and would gladly see him leave with no form of a farewell.
In his time at Liverpool, Lucas became the first ever Brazilian to score for the club. Whilst an impressive achievement on its own, it is even more impressive given he was competing with midfielders such as Gerrard, Alonso and Mascherano for a place in the starting lineup. His goals, whilst rare, are usually accompanied by an air of quality as well. His spectacular curling strike against Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup is proof of that.
It is also a testament to his quality that almost every manager he has worked under for the Reds have lavished praised upon him. Rafa Benitez brought him to the club and was always the first to defend the Brazilian when he came under fire, stating that many simply do not know how good Lucas actually is. I would argue that perhaps this statement still stands today.
When he first signed, he was an out an out box-to-box, who possessed silky feet and outstanding vision. As his time at Liverpool progressed, his position on the pitch was pushed deeper and his quality on the pitch became less obvious to spectators. Playing as a centre back makes it even more difficult to showcase attacking talents, which is something the modern-day football fan values highly when making their judgements of a player.
Recently, Twitter has been awash with speculation surrounding Lucas’ future, with many reports suggesting the possibility of a loan out to Italian side Inter Milan. Being just shy of 10 years at the club, moving away for the remainder of the season would see him lose out on the chance for a testimonial at the club and perhaps the chance to win some silverware with the club that has long eluded Lucas. Given that his original motive for joining the club was to win trophies, the fact that he has been loyal to the club, even though there has been a lack of competition wins, is a testament to both his loyalty and love for Liverpool.
In summary, Lucas Leiva is a player whose true quality is overshadowed by the common misconception that he is clumsy and lacking in skill. He has a passion rivalled by few at the club and is the current longest serving player for Liverpool in the squad. Whilst admittedly Chelsea have been storming away with the league recently, I can think of no fitter farewell than winning the Premier League, although I’m sure he won’t be too disappointed with EFL Cup success either.
I’d like to finish this piece with a quote that I think summarises the Lucas situation perfectly: “Haters will broadcast your failures, but whisper your success.”
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