Lucas Leiva will forever be grateful to former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

Lucas speaks fondly of the role the Spaniard played in rebuilding his confidence and it is no surprise that Benítez's departure last summer was a huge blow, not least because the Brazilian thought the club would sell him at the first opportunity.

"How could I blame Liverpool [if they had]? At that point I had not had a sequence of games long enough for people to see what I was all about," he told the Guardian.

"I had the feeling they were not counting on me for the new era. But at the end the club and I reached common ground. I was happy because nobody would want to leave a club as big as Liverpool without a true chance to show their abilities."

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Liverpool.