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13 October 2008 @ 04:59 pm
Interview with Lucas!  

In an interview in Champions, the official magazine of the UEFA Champions League, Lucas Leiva reveals how he's been settling into life on Merseyside since moving from Gremio nearly 18 months ago.

lucas leiva

Were you pleased with your first season in England?

Of course. When I arrived, Rafa Benitez told me I needed to adapt to the English style and there was no hurry because my chance would come. But my chance came quickly, and I played a lot. The style in England is very different, I had problems with the intensity - it is so fast and physical here.

You come from southern Brazil, where the game is more physical than most people's idea of samba football. Has that helped?

I think it has. In the south we definitely play a harder game, but it's still different from England, as we don't play so many long balls. That makes it hard for every Brazilian, even ones from the south.

What is your preferred position?

I'm in my favourite position now: I'm a second defensive midfielder, the one who is allowed to help the forwards when he gets an opportunity. My main strength is that I work hard for the team. I also think I'm a good marker, and I pass the ball well. But I need to improve my shooting and the attacking part of my game.

Mascherano, Gerrard, Alonso - Liverpool are not exactly short of top-class central midfielders...

The club have a huge number of great players, you're right, and some have a brilliant track record. But Rafa assured me he would always pick players based on who is performing best.

Why do Liverpool do better in Europe than in the Premiership?

The Premiership is hard because all clubs play a similar style, it's very physical. When teams score first, they make it very difficult for you to get back into the game. The UEFA Champions League is different, because there are different styles and the games tend to be a lot more about attacking.

Two other Brazilian youngsters, Anderson and Denílson, are making an impact in the Premier League. Do you know them well?

I'm close to Anderson, because we used to play together at Gremio. I've not had much contact with Denilson, apart from when we've faced each other on the pitch. The fact we're all doing well over here reflects a change in the Brazilian mind-set.

How are you liking life in Liverpool?

Compared to Brazil, life is quiet here. We only train in the morning, and we can do what we want in the afternoons. On days off I try to visit new places. I've been to London, which reminds me of Sao Paulo, and to the Beatles museum. But the main focus is my career, so when one of our rivals is on TV, I stay at home to watch it. I live with my girlfriend and a housekeeper I brought over from Brazil to help
us cook - I didn't want to change my eating habits too much! I also live near other Liverpool players - Fabio Aurelio, Alvaro Arbeloa, Yossi Benayoun, Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres - so it's a very good neighbourhood to live in.

Can Liverpool win the Champions League again this season?

It's too early to say at the moment, but we believe in our squad. The club have a great history in the Champions League, but a lot of other clubs think they can win it this season, too.


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