Current Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has been voted into 36th place in our 100 Players Who Shook the Kop poll…
Date of birth: January 9, 1987 Place of birth: Dourados Nationality: Brazilian Position: Midfielder Years at the club: 2007-present Signed from: Gremio Left for: None Position in 2006 poll: None
Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva has experienced a transformation like perhaps no Liverpool player before him to become one of the most popular figures currently in the Reds dressing room.
A defensive holder with massive energy levels to press opponents, positional awareness to break down counter-attacks and the vision to select the appropriate forward pass - Lucas defines the modern footballer.
But it was not always the way. Signed in 2007, Lucas made his first appearance for the Reds as a substitute in a Champions League qualifier against Toulouse in August of that year. A total of 71 appearances would follow during the subsequent two seasons, although often from the bench.
Despite his best efforts, however, the Brazilian was often maligned by the supporters who desperately wanted him to show clear evidence of his obvious potential.
The departure of Xabi Alonso in the summer of 2009, coupled with the injury issues surrounding his replacement Alberto Aquilani, provided Lucas with the perfect opportunity to snatch a regular spot in the side.
He grew in stature during the 2009-10 season and converted a classy goal in the Europa League quarter-final victory over a strong Benfica outfit at Anfield, one of the highlights of that particular campaign.
Lucas' form survived two changes of manager and continued into the next year; his most consistent period in a Liverpool shirt was rewarded with the fans' player of the season accolade for 2010-11. His relationship with the Kop was finally maturing.
Our No.21 suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury at Chelsea in November 2011, however, and spent the remainder of the season on the sidelines as his teammates lifted the League Cup and suffered FA Cup final heartbreak.
With Brendan Rodgers installed as boss and keen to make Lucas an integral part of his project, the Brazilian again proved his fortitude by overcoming an injury setback at the outset of 2012-13 to feature on 31 occasions.
The midfielder passed the 200-appearance mark in the process and was handed a fresh contract in April 2013 with arguably his finest years remaining ahead of him.
Appearances: 214 Goals: 6 Honours with LFC: 1 League Cup (2011-12) Did you know? Lucas rejected Inter Milan to join Liverpool Where is he now? Still at the club