One of the more enjoyable off-pitch discoveries from Being: Liverpool, the ill-fated, behind-the-scenes look at Brendan Rodgers' first summer in charge, was the South American contingent's family game night. Lucas and his family hosted Sebastian Coates and Luis Suarez for a weekly get-together in which they sipped mate, enjoyed one another's company, and let Suarez win at everything for fear that he might put his fist through the wall if he ended up unemployed and bankrupt in The Game of Life.
Lucas was an old head then, and now, three years on, he's the club's longest-serving squad member. Having already welcomed Philippe Coutinho to the club in January of 2013, the midfielder is now excited about the opportunity to again lead the way for another young Brazilian in Roberto Firmino:
"I think we are getting a goalscorer, which we probably needed from last year because we didn't score many goals. I think he showed the last couple of seasons that he's capable of doing that. He's already playing for the national team, which is good, and we just hope that he can adapt quickly to the Premier League. But we see the example of Emre Can, he adapted very well because I think the German league is quite similar to the Premier League, so hopefully he will go straight in and start to perform.
"With the national team [he and Philippe Coutinho] are working together and they will start the season at Liverpool knowing each other which will only help them both. They both are young players but they are already playing at the highest level so it's really exciting. For me, as a Brazilian as well, I will just try to make [Roberto] feel comfortable as I did with Coutinho. Then hopefully we will see him scoring a lot of goals for the club."
Both Lucas and Martin Skrtel, who arrived a year after Lucas in 2008, should provide leadership for a squad of young talent and new faces. In Lucas they have a personable, committed professional who's clear on what it takes to succeed at Liverpool, especially after a rocky transition from squad member to first-team regular. His mentorship, not only for Firmino and Coutinho, will be vital for a squad that has to settle quickly given a challenging fixture list over the season's first few months.
That doesn't even touch the importance of his role on the pitch, which could again prove critical as the club search for longer-term solutions. During Liverpool's best run of form last season, Lucas' intelligence, endeavor, and stability in a defensive midfield role was immeasurably important; after an early stretch that saw the midfield overrun and a defensive again in shambles, Lucas' ability to organize and provide cover were crucial, and helped to save Brendan Rodgers' job.
He might not be the first name many think of when considering the season ahead, but Lucas is one that the club should be looking to keep around for at least another year. He can provide mentorship and guidance on and off the pitch, and while his contributions might be more limited in terms of playing time, he should be able to once again provide a strong foundation and stabilizing influence, this time as Liverpool look to move forward with a new generation of talent.
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