Player profile

Lucas Leiva

Birthdate: 9 January 1987
Birthplace: Dourados, Brazil
Other clubs: Gremio (2004-07)
Bought from: Gremio
Signed for LFC: £5m, 11.05.2007
International debut: 22.08.2007 vs. Algeria
International caps: 23/0 - 16.11.2013
Liverpool debut: 28.08.2007
Last appearance: 17.12.2014
Debut goal: 26.01.2008
Last goal: 16.09.2010
Win ratio: 56.25% W: 144 D: 54 L: 58
LFC league games/goals: 182 / 1
Total LFC games/goals: 256 / 6

Player profile

A hard-working box-to-box player who was captain of the Brazilian u-20 team. In October 2005 Lucas made his debut for Gremio in the Brazilian second division. Gremio were promoted and in Lucas' first season in the top-flight in 2006 when Gremio finished third he became the youngest-ever player to receive Placar magazine's Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball), given to the best player in the Brazilian league, an honour previously won by the likes of Zico, Falcao, Careca, Romario, Kaka and Carlos Tevez. Just before joining Liverpool, Lucas went all the way to the two-legged final in Copa Libertadores where Boca Juniors outplayed the Brazilian team, winning 5-0 on aggregate. BBC's expert on South American football, Tim Vickery, was optimistic about Lucas' chances of making a name for himself at Liverpool. "These moves are always a gamble, but I think this is a good one. He's an exciting player of a type that Brazilian football hasn't produced too many of recently. Of late their central midfielders have tended to be 'holders' who sit and allow the full-backs to push forward. Lucas is different. He's a big, blonde figure whose power and physical strength comes with attacking ability. He can pass well and loves to rumble forward. He gets on the scoresheet both with blistering shots from range and from bursting beyond the strikers."

Lucas took part in 32 competitive matches during his first season in English football. His highlight of the season came when he thundered an equalising goal into the top corner after non-League Havant & Waterlooville had taken a shock early lead in the FA Cup at Anfield in January 2008. Lucas was 'capped' by his country for the first time in August 2007 and played for Brazil's Olympic team in Beijing 2008 that finished third. He was one of two Brazil players who were sent off in the semi-final defeat to Argentina. Alonso and Mascherano continued to be the preferred choice in midfield by Rafa in the 2008/09 season and Lucas only twice made the starting line-up. Lucas showed his inexperience when he was sent off after 75 minutes for a second booking when he brought down Joleon Lescott against Everton at Goodison Park in a FA Cup fourth round replay. Following Alonso's move to Real Lucas featured more than ever before and only Reina (52), Carragher and Kuyt (53) played in more first-team matches than the previously much-maligned Lucas, in 2009/10. Scapegoat for many a poor team performance in the past, the young Brazilian, who turned 23 during the season, won over huge sections of the fanbase with assured displays that made him probably the most improved player of any of the first-team squad during the season. He was picked from the start for the first six matches of the season, something he had never achieved before, and continued to be a regular throughout the campaign. Lucas hardly put a foot wrong and was the fourth most prolific tackler in the Premier League.

At the end of March 2011 the Brazilian signed a new long-term deal that tied him to LFC until 2015. His future at the club didn't look bright a couple of years back, even shamefully booed by his own fans. He admitted he needed some time to settle in: “Things were not looking good and some supporters were obviously not happy. The move to Liverpool represented a change of country, language and there was also the not so small detail that I was only 20 and arriving at a traditional club in one of the most demanding leagues in the world. Also, few people seemed to remember Liverpool had a group of players that had made two of the last three Champions League finals. Maybe the supporters thought a Brazilian midfielder would do magic. In Gremio I had carte blanche to go forward and participate more in the attacking plays. But things had to change when I arrived in Liverpool, where I am used much more as a holding midfielder. That transition took time and made settling in even more challenging."

Javier Mascherano left early in the 2010/11 season and fans wondered if Lucas was ready to take over his mantle. Few could argue Lucas has developed into an equally strong player as the Argentinian and crucially more composed on the field. Lucas was voted Standard Chartered's Player of the Season in 2010/11 as he became one of Liverpool's key players, having made steady progress in the sometimes unforgiving Anfield spotlight. Not renowned as a goalscorer, he got Liverpool's campaign in the group stage of the Europa League off to a thrilling start. Coming on as a substitute he took only two minutes to make his mark on an autumnal evening at Anfield by driving a long-range shot past the Steaua Bucharest goalkeeper to reclaim the lead for his team and help to ensure three vital points. Lucas' 2011/12 season came to a shuddering halt when he was stretchered off the Stamford Bridge pitch during Liverpool's League Cup quarter-final with Chelsea at the end of November having damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. His absence was more keenly felt than anyone's else's and Liverpool's midfield fell apart without him in the second half of the campaign when the club lost 11 out of 19 League games! Lucas returned in August, but suffered another setback when he injured his thigh in the warm-up when champions Manchester City visited Anfield on 26 August 2012. Lucas said he would shake the injury off, but he only lasted five minutes before being replaced by Jonjo Shelvey. He was sidelined until 1 December and has been slowly getting his match fitness to normal levels following such a lengthy absence.

The injury received in only the second Premier League match of 2012/13 kept Lucas out of the first-team picture for over three months. Once he got back into the team, however, he kept his place until the end of the season and made his 200th appearance for the club in the home fixture against West Bromwich Albion in February. Two months later the midfielder signed a new contract which the club described as 'long-term'. Appearing in twenty-nine of the club's forty-three competitive matches (67%) in 2013/14 was a good statistic for a man who was struggling to get to his best form. He was used as a substitute twice as many times as he had been in Brendan Rodgers' first season but he always gave maximum effort even if at times it looked as if he hadn't quite left his injury concerns behind him. Lucas failed to make the 23-man squad picked by  Luiz Felipe Scolari to represent the hosts at the 2014 World Cup finals. Just before the main squad was announced Lucas Leiva's services to the Liverpool FC Foundation were rewarded at the club's Players' Awards Dinner with the Bill Shankly Award as someone who has upheld the club's values, showing dignity, unity, commitment and ambition.

Appearances per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals1821113500256
2007-2008 18437032
2008-2009 252210039
2009-2010 352013050
2010-2011 331112047
2011-2012 12030015
2012-2013 26104031
2013-2014 27110029
2014-2015 6034013

A more detailed look at the player's appearances

TotalOpponent
14Chelsea
12Everton
11Manchester City
11Stoke City
10Aston Villa
10Manchester United
10Arsenal
10West Ham United
10Tottenham
9Fulham
8Bolton Wanderers
8WBA
8Newcastle United
8Sunderland
7Blackburn Rovers
6Hull City
6Wigan Athletic
5Wolves
5Birmingham City
4Swansea City
4Southampton
4Atletico Madrid
4Reading
3Real Madrid
3Marseille
3Middlesbrough
3Portsmouth
2Cardiff City
2Luton Town
2Norwich City
2Inter Milan
2Burnley
2Lille
2Steaua Bucharest
2Unirea Urziceni
2PSV Eindhoven
2QPR
2Trabzonspor
2Benfica
2Besiktas
2Debrecen VSC
2Lyon
2Rabotnicki
2Sparta Prague
2Braga
2Gomel
2Zenit St. Petersburg
2Ludogorets
1Napoli
1Havant
1Barnsley
1Crystal Palace
1Mansfield Town
1Crewe
1Basel
1Fiorentina
1Utrecht
1Toulouse
1Leicester City
1Northampton Town
1Bournemouth
1Preston North End
1Oldham Athletic
1Blackpool
1Derby
1Brighton & Hove Albion
Total Started/substitutions
203 Started
35 On the bench
53 Substitute
43 Substituted

Goals per season

SeasonLeagueFALCEuropeOtherTotal
Totals111306
2007-2008 010001
2008-2009 101103
2009-2010 000101
2010-2011 000101
2011-2012 000000
2012-2013 000000
2013-2014 000000
2014-2015 000000

A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring

TotalStarted/substitutions
4Started
2Substitute
TotalGoal minute period
01-15
116-30 minutes
131-45 minutes
146-60 minutes
061-75
376-90 minutes
091-120
TotalOpen play/Penalty
6Open play
0Penalty

Wartime Appearances / Goals

SeasonAppearancesGoals
No records to display.

Stats note

Milestone Appearances

#DateAgainstStadiumCompetition
128.08.2007ToulouseAnfieldEurope
5026.12.2008Bolton WanderersAnfieldLeague
10020.01.2010TottenhamAnfieldLeague
15022.01.2011WolvesMolineuxLeague
20011.02.2013WBAAnfieldLeague
25004.11.2014Real MadridBernabeu StadiumEurope

Milestone Goals

#MinuteDateAgainstStadiumCompetition
12726.01.2008HavantAnfieldFA Cup

Related Articles

Lucas top secret

From Daily Mail on 29 October 2011. By Dominic King.More

Lucas Leiva: The Winds of Change

Phil Montgomery charts Lucas' progress after the midfielder picked up the Player of the Season award in 2010-2011. First published at Thisisanfield.com on May 26th, 2011.More

Fernando Torres brilliance defeats Benfica

Liverpool Echo press report on Liverpool - Benfica on 08.04.2010.More

Lucas and Kuyt dish some dirt on team-mates

From Soccer AM on Sky Sports in March 2010 - Teammates.More

AnfieldRed's Exclusive Interview with Lucas Leiva

AnfieldRed's exclusive interview with Lucas Leiva on 9 November 2009.More

Liverpool win 5-0 on aggregate

Liverpool Daily Post report on Liverpool - Toulouse on August 29 2007 by Ian Doyle at Anfield. More

Golden Ball boy Lucas is ready to glitter on the big stage at Anfield

An article from Liverpool Echo on 16th of June 2007. More

Lucas Leiva’s heart set on Liverpool

An article by Chris Bascombe at the Liverpool Echo on 26th of July 2007.More

Lucas ready to lead Brazilian charge

An article from 28th of March 2007 from FiFA.com. More

Lucas Leiva understands he is finally accepted at Liverpool

The Brazilian midfielder admits his early days on Merseyside were tough but he is blossoming under Kenny Dalglish. From The Guardian on 26 March 2011. By Fernando Duarte.More

Related Quotes

"These moves are always a gamble, but I think this is a good one. He's an exciting player of a type that Brazilian football hasn't produced too many of recently. Of late their central midfielders have tended to be 'holders' who sit and allow the full-backs to push forward. Lucas is different. He's a big, blonde figure whose power and physical strength comes with attacking ability. He can pass well and loves to rumble forward. He gets on the scoresheet both with blistering shots from range and from bursting beyond the strikers.

You can certainly imagine him playing alongside Javier Mascherano, for example. I don't have the same fears for him as I did with Paletta. He's had two full seasons behind him - one helping Gremio win promotion from the second division, and then last year's success when he was chosen as the player of the championship. In a perfect world you might want him to stay another year before moving on, but (a) Gremio need to sell to balance the books and (b) with Liverpool's strength in depth in central midfield it looks as if his first campaign will be a bedding in season.

Tim Vickery answers a question from a BBC reader regarding Lucas Leiva

The player was in the squad the following season

SeasonShirt #Position
2007-2008 21 Midfielder
2008-2009 21 Midfielder
2009-2010 21 Midfielder
2010-2011 21 Midfielder
2011-2012 21 Midfielder
2012-2013 21 Midfielder
2013-2014 21 Midfielder
2014-2015 21 Midfielder
* Note, Since the 1993-94 season players have been allocated a fixed number.

Back