In July 2007, a little Brazilian signed from Gremio for £5 million. Little did he know that 10 years later he would be leaving as a Liverpool legend.
Lucas scored his first goal for the Reds in 2008 in the FA Cup against Havant and Waterlooville, becoming the first ever Brazilian to score for Liverpool. Although he wasn’t prolific in front of goal, when he did score they were usually special or vitally important.
As the seasons went by, Lucas became more of an influential player for the Reds, used mainly as a defensive holding midfielder. There were always doubters when it came to Lucas, which was apparent after a League game against Fulham in 2008 when he was booed by the fans. The managers always kept the faith though, with Rafa Benitez stating that “people just don’t know how good Lucas is”. He faced an uphill task of playing regularly as his competition in midfield was tough with Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano vacating them positions. When he did manage to make an appearance he was steady and reliable and eventually scored his only league goal against Newcastle in a 3-0 win in 2009.
In 2011 Lucas was finally recognised as one of Liverpool’s most important players, as he was voted by the fans as the clubs Player of the Year. He also signed a new long term contract with the club, which was thoroughly deserved.
In Lucas’ later years at Liverpool there was constant speculation about his future and there was always talk of him being sold. Each summer however he proved his loyalty and fought for his place. Although his favoured position was at the base of the midfield, he was often used as an emergency centre back when injuries struck. He showed his versatility and ability to play a number of positions, making him a useful squad player.
Lucas scored his last goal for the Reds against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in 2017, heading in the winning goal. The Brazilian also captained the side this night with most of the senior players missing.
At the end of this season, he completed his 10th and last season at Liverpool and was awarded a Special Recognition Award by club legend Kenny Dalglish. In July 2017, Lucas’ Liverpool career came to an end after he signed for Italian side Lazio for £5 million.
Lucas may have had his critics, but his passion for the club and loyalty when fans were against him is admirable. He will be greatly missed by his teammates and all of his supporters. Thanks for the memories and good luck in Serie A.