Liverpool vs Chelsea: 'Chelsea match in 2011 changed my view of football, says Lucas Leiva

The match kicks off at 7.45pm

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The Independent Football

Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva has described how the match against Chelsea which left him with a career-threatening injury has affected the way he views the game.

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Lucas is at the heart of Brendan Rodgers’ midfield for tonight’s Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Chelsea – underlining his importance to the new 3-4-2-1 system which has seen Liverpool go undefeated since their loss at Old Trafford in early December.

But – in an observation which is equally relevant to his up and down last few years at Anfield – he said that the cruciate injury he sustained against tonight’s opposition in 2011 taught him to make the most of the good times while they last. The injury came at end of the 2-1 quarter final at Stamford Bridge that Kenny Dalglish’s side won 2-1, on the way to lifting the trophy with their win over Cardiff City at Wembley. He did not return until the following season.

Lucas, who has hankered for a move to Internazionale because of his drift to the margins of the Liverpool last season, said the injury was “probably the lowest moment of my career” but the biggest challenge was the mental one when he returned to the side the following August.

The Brazilian said: “It’s even harder when you first get back playing because you know you are not at the same level as before and you will need time to get there… At those times you have to believe that the good moments will return.”

That period had influenced his view of football, Lucas said. “I’ve realised that you can be a hero one week and then a zero the next. This is the nature of football. One day people might be saying how important you are; the next day the might not mention you. It means I don’t get too carried away when the team is winning or too down if we are not. Nothing is forever in football, good or bad. Ive also realised you have to work hard no matter what. Sometimes it’s easy to do that when the team is on a good run and playing nice football. But when things aren’t going well it’s even more important to work hard and do everything right. That’s how you improve.” Despite the player’s desire to go, Rodgers has said that his importance to the re-shaped team means that a transfer is out of the question.