“Do it for Lucas.”
Ahead of Brendan Rodgers’ first Premier League game as Liverpool manager in August 2012 the message was clear. Work together, fight for each other, and above all it do it for a player who was making his comeback from a career-defining anterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee. Early on Rodgers identified Lucas Leiva as a key lieutenant, a foot solider to get onside with his new project at Anfield.
Rogers trusted Lucas implicitly. When the Brazilian picked up a thigh injury early in a 2-2 draw with Manchester City the next weekend, he missed the next three months of the season and was assigned scouting duties.