Another summer, another round of rumours linking Lucas Leiva with a move away from Liverpool. And not just linked. As in past years, again the reports were solid; interest in signing the midfielder was there. For a time, a departure seemed the more likely option for the veteran Brazilian.
Then, as has seemingly been the case every summer the past five or six years now, the transfer window closed with Lucas still at the club. Not perhaps in line for the starting minutes he would prefer and that had him at least open to moving on, but a valued presence and a respected, established leader.
Lucas will be counted on at the club for at least one more season before his contract expires next summer, and only a week removed from the close of the window, he’s gone straight back to filling his role as the club’s most veteran presence on and off the pitch and one of the team’s spokesmen.
“I’m excited to see the new Anfield,” said the 29-year-old in an interview with the club’s official website ahead of the first home game of the season. “I think the fans are really looking forward to it and the atmosphere will be very good, but with many more thousands it’ll probably be louder.”
As for the value of a new and improved Anfield, Lucas points to the top four—and to the home record of their first home opponents this weekend, Leicester City. The goal is the top four, and maybe even more than that, just like what Leicester achieved in part thanks to a stellar home record.
“Leicester were a big surprise for many, but they really deserved to win the title,” Lucas added. “This year of course is different—they have more games with the Champions League and other teams have strengthened a lot —but we expect a very difficult game as always, like it was at home last season and away.
“Every year, the teams that have a very good record at home challenge for titles and the top four, so it’s very important that we do that this year—starting with the first game. It would give us confidence to go away from home against Chelsea and try to get the three points. I think we can do it.”