Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva has been rewarded for his improved performances this season by signing a new long term contract to keep him at Liverpool.
The 24 year old Brazil international has played over 100 games for the Anfield club since joining from Brazilian club Gremio back in July 2007 for £5 million.
Leiva attracted negative press early in his Liverpool career as he struggled to settle into English football, but his performances over the last two seasons have made him an important player for the Reds, and a fans favorite.
Speaking with the club’s official website caretaker manager Kenny Dalglish was happy with the news, saying: “We are delighted. He is a smashing lad to have around the football club but he hasn’t been signed for that, he has been signed because of what he does on the pitch. Certainly since I came in he has been a great asset to the team and has done tremendously well.”
Dalglish added: “He’s happy to be here and play for the club and he’s getting everything that he deserves at the moment – including being a fixture in the Brazilian team – because of what he’s done on the pitch.”
New director of football Damien Comolli echoed Dalglish’s sentiments, stating: “I am very, very pleased. We have been talking for a few months now, ever since I arrived at the club. One of the first things I did after I arrived was to look at the contract situation and to see where Lucas was at. I knew we had to do something quickly because we couldn’t afford to lose him and didn’t want to lose him.”
Comolli also said: “Considering his performances on the pitch with us and with Brazil, and his attitude around the place – off the pitch he’s a great professional, totally committed and dedicated and it’s always team first when you speak to Lucas – that’s why we wanted him to stay. He could have gone to many clubs because he is highly rated around Europe, but he always said he wanted to play for Liverpool.”
Lucas has made 38 appearances for the club this season, and will be a key man for Liverpool in the remainder of the season and for campaigns to come.