Fans of Lucas Leiva may have to deal with the fact that righting the wrongs of last season without him. The player looks set to leave Liverpool without a player coming in as a replacement. It appears that Brendan Rodgers no longer sees Lucas as an essential component of the first-team squad with other players ahead of him in the midfield pecking order. The latest rumour has been about a potential move to Serie A for the Brazilian defensive midfielder.
However, there are voices of dissent at the prospect of such a move. Jan Molby shared his thoughts in his opinion column for the Liverpool Echo, and there was no ambiguity surrounding his views on the departure of a player who has spent close to ten years at Anfield.
I really hope he stays because I still think he will have a part to play this season. It's important you have a No.6 who is a proper No.6 and very much a team player - someone whose ambition is for the team rather than himself. I've always liked Lucas. You have to have admiration for the way in which he has stuck at it. He believed he was good enough to succeed at Liverpool and he's proved that was the case. His form was outstanding before he suffered that serious knee injury in 2011. I don't think he's ever got back to that level and he's been in and out under Brendan Rodgers but he still has a lot to offer. He's a popular figure in the dressing room and has a lot of experience in a squad full of players who are relatively new to the club. I think there will be games where you need Lucas. I don't see Emre Can playing that holding role. I don't think he has the mindset or the discipline for it as he will feel he has more to offer further up the pitch.
If Lucas does leave, he will join only the third club in his career. If Liverpool are looking for defensive protection from the midfield, there is clearly nobody better in the squad to provide this. There will be games where his particular set of skills will be needed, skills acquired over a tactically intelligent career. As Molby has pointed out, there is more than what Lucas brings to the pitch. Those qualities should not be underestimated, but even if they were, the player's worth on matchdays alone should be convincing enough.
There will need to be a suitable offer for Lucas' services for any move to take place, considering the experience and time left on his contract. Maybe a fresh start as a regular starter will benefit Lucas and possibly ensure a recall to the Brazilian national team. It's good to see former players chime in respectfully in support of Lucas without lambasting the manager in what may very well be a delicate transfer for Liverpool FC.