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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Lucas leaving

Long-serving Liverpool midfielder set to sign for Lazio

Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva. Pic: PA
Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva. Pic: PA

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva appears to be closing in on a move to Lazio after the Italian club posted a picture of the Brazilian on their official Twitter account. 

The Brazilian, who had been the subject of a £5million bid, holding a Lazio scarf at an airport and then undergoing a medical.  Lucas is Liverpool's current longest-serving player after a decade on Merseyside, but was left out of the squad for a friendly against Wigan last week to consider his future. 

The 30-year-old, who made 19 starts in all competitions last season and 346 for the club in total, had recently entered the final year of his contract.  In the last 18 months Jurgen Klopp has asked Lucas to stay on to provide some much-needed experience, despite interest from a number of clubs in Turkey and Italy, but has clearly decided not to stand in his way as he pursues regular first-team football elsewhere.  "I am not 100 per cent sure, but I think for Lucas, (who's had an) outstanding, fantastic time at Liverpool, we should talk about facts and not rumours. Maybe something, maybe not," Klopp had said last week, before his squad travelled to Hong Kong to continue their pre-season preparations.  Klopp has voiced his concerns about the state of the pitch as Liverpool gear up for the Premier League Asia Trophy. Hong Kong has been battered by torrential downpours since the Reds touched down in the Far East yesterday.

Klopp was forced to abandon plans to train outside at the Mong Kok Stadium on Monday night as a waterlogged surface meant the players took part in a light session indoors instead. There are fears about the surface at the Hong Kong Stadium which will host all four matches in the Asia Trophy which also involves Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Brom. Liverpool are scheduled to face Palace in the second semi-final tomorrow but the forecast is for further heavy thunderstorms. The last time the tournament was held in Hong Kong in 2013 it became a quagmire and was branded a "killer pitch" by then Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio. "Yeah (it's a worry)," Klopp said. "What can I say? I'm a football manager, I'm interested in the game, I'm interested in the quality of the game and different things have influence on the quality. "Players do of course, the pitch is very important, but if it's bad we can't change it. We'll see how it is. It's an outside sport so you have to adapt to the weather and for all teams it's the same. I hope it's okay." Around £3million has been spent at the Hong Kong Stadium since the debacle of 2013 to re-turf the pitch and install a new drainage system.

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