Over the summer, it was widely reported that Lucas Leiva was seen as surplus to requirements and that he was available for purchase. By the end, it appeared it wouldn't even take a fee, as reports claimed a deal had been agreed with Besiktas and that Lucas had a ticket to fly out the day after the Arsenal match.
One day made all the difference. Jordan Henderson's injured foot and a sudden shortage of midfield options led to Lucas' recall against the Gunners, where he was key to earning a hard-fought draw at the Emirates. After that performance, he didn't get on that flight to Turkey. Instead, he was back training with the first team at Melwood.
"It's been very intense, to be honest," said Lucas, who admitted he was on the verge of leaving. "I think the last couple of years, every transfer window my name is linked. Of course there are times when you think you might have to move on and I was very close to moving but one thing I will always have is commitment to this club.
"I've been here so long and I always said if I had the choice to be here and be happy, I would always choose Liverpool. When your future is in doubt, you might have to think of another solution, but I'm happy that it didn't happen and I'm here to fight for the club as I have been doing for eight years."
Over those eight years, though some have been slow to embrace even the concept of a holding midfielder and what one can bring to a side, the platform for the more attack-minded midfield players to swarm forward freely while allowing the fullbacks to bomb up the pitch, Liverpool have been a better side for his inclusion.
Under Brendan Rodgers, despite that the manager seems to favour players who can do a bit of everything rather than relying on specialists, Liverpool have tended to look a better, more cohesive side when Lucas has been on the pitch. He's a player who has never stopped having to prove and re-prove himself, and he's ready to do it again.
"I'm just looking forward to a good season and putting Liverpool back where it belongs," he said. "I have this chance to say I'm fully committed. I've been here so long and I really love this club. I just need to now focus on my performance and help in the way the manager and the staff asked me to help."
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