It’s long been something of a conundrum for many Liverpool fans. When Brendan Rodgers first arrived at the club, few players seemed better suited for his stated vision than Lucas Leiva. Over the three seasons he’s been in charge, the results have moreover seemed to suggest there’s some truth to that idea.
Lucas has had his issues with fitness that continue to be a concern, but when he’s fit and on the pitch, Liverpool have played better football. They’ve looked a more cohesive side and gotten better results with him sat at the base of midfield dictating the tempo and screening a backline that without him has often been left exposed.
Yet he has never seemed a player Rodgers favours. There have been persistent rumours off and on that, if a club wanted Lucas, he would be available for a not unreasonable price in the £10-15M range. Now, if rumours are to be believed, the situation has gone from available for the right price to the player being actively shopped.
According to the Express’ Paul Joyce, who does have reliable contacts at the club, Lucas was left out of the squad that faced Stoke yesterday following fall-out with Brendan Rodgers and if a buyer can be found, he will now be sold. If the club are now desperate to offload him, a Serie A buyer seems rather likely to appear.
"Another concern centres on Liverpool’s strength in depth in midfield," wrote Joyce in his match report for Liverpool’s 1-0 away victory over Stoke City on Sunday. "With Lucas left out of the squad entirely following a fall-out [it now] presumably promotes the prospect of a parting. He would need replacing."
Lucas may not be as fast as he once was due to his ACL injury, but he never was a particularly fast player, and when he was given the chance last year he was consistently one of the club’s best performers. Along with Mamadou Sakho and Philippe Coutinho, Lucas was key to the club’s mid-season resurgence.
That improved form for a time got Liverpool within touching distance of the top four—until Lucas fell injured and Rodgers fell back on his early season tendencies. Some of those tendencies were again on display against Stoke, even if Philippe Coutinho in the end bailed Rodgers and the Reds out with a late wonder-strike.