Under Jürgen Klopp, Lucas Leiva has looked as close to as his old self pre-ACL injury than he ever did under old manager Brendan Rodgers. The German's arrival has sparked a resurgence in the midfielder, not just in terms of playing time but also in the level of trust afforded to Lucas. Klopp bestowed the captaincy on Lucas during the match against Crystal Palace a week ago, and it was a gesture of deep meaning for the Brazilian.
"We didn’t have [Jordan] Henderson nor [James] Milner, so I took over as captain," Lucas said in an interview with GloboEsporte.com, translated by our colleague Fellipe Miranda at We Ain't Got No History. "Since I’ve been at the club for a longer time than anybody else, the manager showed he appreciates me with this gesture and it was a very special moment for me.
"I’ve been with Liverpool for many years and I know how important it is to be the team’s captain. In this occasion, I had the opportunity to lead the team. Unfortunately we didn’t get a good outcome from the game, but it was a special moment."
It's yet to be seen whether Lucas would continue with the armband if James Milner isn't fit for the upcoming match against Manchester City, but regardless of any formal acknowledgements of leadership in the squad, it's clear Lucas has already made a connection with his new manager.
"I believe Klopp’s arrival gave me new energy, a new wind," Lucas explained. "He’s shown that he trusts me a lot. Since he arrived, we had seven matches in four weeks. It’s a high number, but he already managed to shape the team in a different way. I’ve been learning a lot from him. He’s very demanding, but he has clear ideas on football.
"I’ve had a good relationship with him during this first month [of Klopp’s spell]. He’s very direct, as I expected because I know the German culture, but he’s also a very open guy. We feel really close knowing that he’s the boss. We have to comply with the order."
Demanding and open, open and demanding. Liverpool could (and have!) done far worse when it comes to a manager and his tactics with his squad.