Perhaps it is a cliche in sports to talk about "guys who are good to have around." In today's fast-paced sports world, team chemistry, camaraderie, experience, and loyalty are all afterthoughts to the bottom line. And if Brendan Rodgers doesn't rate a player, he's generally out the door.
Such a sad fate--one that has happened with maddening regularity under Rodgers--nearly befell Lucas Leiva.
"I was very frustrated that I couldn't make the squad for the first two games, but I had to keep training and working hard because we have a lot of examples where football can change in a moment."
"Of course, I never wanted to leave Liverpool. I have a home here and my family are very happy. But sometimes you do find yourself thinking about another solution if you think that will keep your career going."
Lucas wasn't the only one disappointed by his exclusion from the match day squad, as many fans questioned his repeated absences. The fact that Liverpool are so thin at defensive midfield is not one to be looked over lightly, which made Rodgers' insistence at shoving Lucas out the door all the more curious.
Prior to Arsenal, Liverpool were one injury away from really needing Lucas, not for squad rotation purposes, but for a role in the starting XI with years of top-flight experience. It is unfortunate that an injury to Jordan Henderson proved to be the impetus for forcing Lucas into action, but it is very fortunate that he was still in the squad and not loaned out in Turkey.
"A couple of things happened during the first couple of games that gave me the chance to play against Arsenal, and I believe it was because I was training so hard and was well prepared that I was able to come in and have a good game.
"Maybe if there hadn't been the Arsenal game, I wouldn't be here now. But I always believe that things happen for a reason.
"I'm very happy that I stayed and I will keep fighting for the club as I have been doing for the past eight years."
We too are very happy you stayed Papa Lucas. There has not been many positives this season, but Lucas staying certainly is one.