Love him or hate him (and some people really do hate him for whatever reason), Lucas Leiva was a staunch workhorse for Liverpool for ten years. Despite injuries and bench vacations, he did his all for the club as often as possible and became a true adopted Scouser. Lucas left Merseyside for Serie A team Lazio last summer for a new challenge, having spent most of his formative adult years at Liverpool.
The club were able to catch up with him during Liverpool’s semi-final matchup against Roma and he had nothing but lovely things to say about Lazio, Italy, and Serie A in general.
When asked about the difficult decision to leave Liverpool, Lucas said: “Yes, of course. It wasn’t easy to leave Liverpool because Liverpool is my home, I would say, because I was there for 10 years. My kids were born there and I still have a lot of friends there so it wasn’t an easy decision, but I had to think about my career as well and what I wanted.
“I started to realise that maybe my role in the team was a little bit more off the pitch than on it. At my age I wanted to keep playing and keep enjoying it. That’s why I think it was the right choice to move and find a new experience as well. The Italian league has been good this year, very competitive, and Lazio [have been] doing well so it has been great.”
Moving from one league to another is a whole other set of challenges and not ones that many players are able to handle. Lucas, on the other hand, has taken well to Serie A versus the Premier League, even going so far as to actually score more than one goal a season. That’s right, Lucas has scored FOUR whole goals for Lazio, already practically doubling his career tally with Liverpool.
“If it was in training I was top scorer!” Lucas responded, when his goals came up - you can practically hear him laughing without even being there. “To be honest, I’ve been working on this. I remember Klopp as well, he said a few times to me I could score a few goals. But it was something in my head that was blocking me and I had a different perception. I always felt that if I went too much forward then maybe I would leave my teammates not protected.
“So I started to work on this here and with the confidence with games you start to, I wouldn’t say take more risks, but go a bit more forward and measure the risk without leaving the team exposed. So it has been happening, four goals this season, my best [goalscoring] season since I left Brazil with some assists as well, so that shows with confidence, with games and work, I think you can always improve.”
It certainly helps to have a team like Lazio around you, including another former Liverpool player Luis Alberto, but Lucas is relishing the differences between the leagues and admits to learning more and different things in Serie A than in his time in the Premier League.
“The difference is the pace of the game. I would say the Premier League is more intense in terms of the players, but in Italy I’ve been learning a lot about tactical movements and shape, things like this,” Lucas continued.
“It has been important for me because it’s a season where you analyse a lot of the teams and small details, things that maybe in the Premier League it’s a little bit more different.”
As much as it hurt to see him leave, seeing him happy and enjoying his time in Italy feels a bit softer and a bit nicer. Knowing they’re taking good care of our dear Papa Lucas before he’s able to come back in whatever capacity, wiser for taking the time to venture away from his second home.