Liverpool's Lucas Leiva: Rafa could have bombed me out
Lucas Leiva admits the Liverpool boo-boys hurt him last season.
"Everyone knows I had some difficult moments last season," he said. "When you are playing at home, you normally expect good things from your own supporters but it didn't quite work out that way.
"I tried my best to understand where they were coming from, and it was clear the reaction was because of Rafa choosing me and leaving Xabi (Alonso) on the bench.
"The whole team were below par that day, but it didn't matter. The fans looked at that one change and saw it as they key reason why we struggled. I really tried to understand, but it was difficult.
"No-one likes getting that sort of treatment. That's when Rafa came into his own. He took me to one side and said, 'You are only a young boy. You need to improve, but I know you will. I know you can play better'.
"There were lots of similar conversations that season. The great thing about Rafa is he is always straight. If he doesn't like you he will tell you. But he always said to me, 'I believe in you. You are going to be a good Liverpool player'.
"I came through it all feeling stronger and I owe him for that. He was so supportive and gave me confidence. I know that if he wasn't here I would not still be a Liverpool player."