Wednesday 16 January 2019

Lucas told he can leave Liverpool

Lucas Leiva has been given the green light to leave Liverpool after eight years with at Anfield
Lucas Leiva has been given the green light to leave Liverpool after eight years with at Anfield

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool will listen to offers for long-serving midfielder Lucas Leiva after the Brazilian was informed he is a back-up player this season.

Lucas was not in the squad to face Stoke City on Sunday, and his eight-year career at Anfield is expected to end before the end of the month.

Liverpool are yet to receive any bids for the 28-year-old, although there are suggestions Inter Milan are interested in a loan deal for the South American. Inter tried to sign Lucas last January, but Liverpool could not afford to let him go.

At that time, he admitted he would "be lying if he did not admit he was thinking of something new".

In fact, Lucas has almost left Anfield in the last three transfer windows as manager Brendan Rodgers has looked to reshape his midfield. On each occasion circumstances have seen the player recalled, but his omission at the Britannia Stadium does appear to spell the beginning of the end for the player who joined Liverpool in 2007.

He has made almost 250 appearances at Anfield and is a popular player having recovered from a difficult start to his Liverpool career under Rafa Benitez, reinventing himself as a defensive midfielder.

Lucas is not the only player whose absence on Sunday has prompted speculation about possible outgoings before the transfer window closes.

Mamadou Sakho must wait for his opportunity after Rodgers made it clear Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel are his preferred pairing at centre-half. Lovren responded to that show of faith with his most accomplished performance since joining Liverpool.

Although Sakho's absence could in part be attributed to him being granted paternity leave for three days in the build-up to the opening day, he will still be a back-up option for now.

Alberto Moreno was also left out as Joe Gomez made an accomplished debut at left-back, although it is inevitable the 18-year-old signed from Charlton will be nurtured through his debut season. Liverpool must decide whether to retain Moreno - who will attract interest from La Liga - or cash in and look for another left-back.

There was good news from another summer signing yesterday as Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Welsh club TNS at the club's training ground yesterday.

Those included Liverpool's other goalscorers in a 5-1 win - Danny Ings and Lazar Markovic.

Emre Can, who also returned to Melwood later after playing in the European U-21 Championships but played for 27 minutes at the Britannia Stadium, also featured along with Adam Bogdan, Lucas, Moreno, Divock Origi, Jordan Rossiter, Sakho and Kolo Toure.

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