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Focus on Lucas' Near Exit Misses the Point

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An interview with Jan Molby from the official website made it clear that a move to Italy was a very real possibility for Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder, but renewed focus on that excerpt ignores an otherwise enlightening conversation.

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Clive Brunskill

For whatever reason--likely that it's such a slow few weeks for club news--a number of websites are running today with the "news" that Lucas almost left Liverpool during the summer that Roy Hodgson arrived. That was more or less an open secret; Christian Purslow made it clear that he didn't value either of Emiliano Insua or Lucas, and while he was successful (abeit somewhat slow) in getting the Argetinean fullback off the club's books for good, he was thankfully a miserable failure at driving Lucas away.

Anyhow, the portion that sites have jumped on is this:

"I felt as though it was almost the end for me at the club. I nearly left. I knew they were looking for players. They signed Christian Poulsen at the time, and that was a message for me, that I was not really in their plans. So I was really close to leaving to go to Italy. For some reason I did not go, I stayed."

It doesn't really provide anything to the conversation other than as a simple statement of fact, which is what makes the sensationalizing of almost transfer news that's now nearly three years past confounding. There's plenty of transfer moves that nearly come off, and discussion of it years down the road doesn't necessarily qualify as news. The ownership and those making player personnel decisions were idiots, they're not around anymore, Lucas is, and he's boss. JUICY!

What's further annoying is that it also ignores what turned out to be a fairly fascinating conversation between two of the club's better midfielders from the past thirty years. Both are open and honest about their struggles transitioning, as well as their obvious affection for the club that become their home. If you haven't spent the time to read--or if you have the LFCTV subscription, watch--the full discussion, it's worth a look here.

I remember back in the fall we talked about both the physical and mental recovery that needed to take place for Lucas, which made this bit one of the more interesting to me:

The knee injury (in November 2011) was because of a tackle. So I am now always thinking that if I tackle in a certain way it could result in another injury. It was very hard; I had to work a lot on the mental side of it. But that's the way I play and I need to tackle, otherwise, I won't be playing the way I want to play. But when you get into the game, you just forget about it and you just have to go and play. There's also the pace of the game. You think you are training well when you are on your own and you are quick. But when you have players around you and the ball moves so quickly, you know that you are not quite there yet...So it was a learning process for me but I knew I just had to get stronger, mentally and physically. And I think I'm getting there again. It's a long process, we know that, but I'm lucky that people have a lot of confidence in me and they are giving me games as well, which is important.

I think we all know that he's not there yet, whether or not we've wanted to admit it, but the signs are positive, and with the effort he's displayed to getting himself back up and running, there's no reason to think that he won't be near full form and fitness come next season both physically and mentally. We've seen glimmers this season, but the first one back was never going to be perfect, even if the form he'd shown prior to his injury was a damn close.

So yes, Lucas did almost leave Liverpool. That's news in 2010. What's news now is that he's working to replicate the types of performances that had him as one of Europe's best holding midfielders for a full calendar year, and that he's doing so at a club to whom he's fully committed.