Lucas Leiva names the best three players he was teammates with during 10 years at Liverpool
Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Lucas Leiva names the best three players he was teammates with during 10 years at Liverpool

Former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has named the three best players he shared a dressing room with at Anfield.

Lucas spent 10 years at Liverpool between 2007 and 2017, making 346 appearances. Over that period he played with some Reds icons, cult heroes and everything in-between.

Having been forced to retire earlier this year owing to a previously undetected heart problem, the Brazilian sat down with to look back on his Liverpool career. And asked by Jason McAteer which three players he would build around as a manager, Lucas didn’t have to think too hard.

“They cannot only be attacking, they can’t only be strikers so I would start with Pepe [Reina],” he said. “Pepe was incredible at Liverpool. I had the opportunity to play with him at Lazio again. But Pepe was a great goalkeeper, I think he broke records with clean sheets.

“I would pick Stevie [Gerrard] for sure in the middle. We don’t need to speak too much about Stevie. And [Luis] Suarez, these three players [would be] the spine of the team and build around them for sure.”

Lucas also claimed that a trio of Jurgen Klopp era players just missed the cut. “Bobby [Firmino] is just behind Suarez, he would be great,” said the 36-year-old. “Maybe [Sadio] Mane and [Philippe] Coutinho both sides. It wouldn’t be bad that!”

Lucas draws on unique Liverpool experience

A lot changed over Lucas’ decade at Liverpool. Having been brought into a brilliant Rafa Benitez team containing the likes of Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso, he left with the Reds on the cusp of assembling their next great side.

It might be surprising for some to recall, but Lucas did play a couple of seasons with Firmino, as well as taking in Mane’s debut campaign at Anfield. At the other end of the scale, he also played names of yore like Harry Kewell, Steven Finnan and John Arne Riise.

The Brazil international featured alongside Gini Wijnaldum in midfield and left the summer Mohamed Salah was brought to the club.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

As a result, there’s no player quite like Lucas in recent Liverpool history. He witnessed so much turbulence in-between those reigns of Benitez and Klopp. The defensive midfielder played with some great players but he also witnessed some rubbish pass through Anfield. For every Steven Gerrard he played with, there was a Charlie Adam. For each Luis Suarez there was Rickie Lambert.

Only Martin Skrtel could also claim to have bridged the gap between Benitez’s excellent side of the late 2000s and Klopp coming in. But unlike Lucas, Skrtel was never really a part of what Jurgen was looking to build. Having barely featured under the German for what was left of 2015/16, the Slovakian was shipped out the Klopp’s first summer window.

Lucas stayed though, and although he wasn’t a key player in his final season in red, he was still important to the squad. Had he stayed on a little longer, he would have had a few more options for this little list. But it was the right time to go in 2017. Still, not a bad three players there.

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