Midfielder says he was on verge of leaving Anfield.
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has revealed he nearly quit the club in 2010 under former boss Roy Hodgson.
The Braziliian has been an influential part of Liverpool’s good form under Brendan Rodgers of late but told the Liverpool Echo he nearly left Anfield after Hodgson signed experienced enforcer Christian Poulsen from Juventus.
“I felt as though it was almost the end for me at the club,” Lucas said.
“I nearly left. I knew they were looking for players. They signed Christian Poulsen at the time, and that was a message for me, that I was not really in their plans.”
Lucas, who joined Liverpool from Brazilian outfit Gremio for £5m in 2007, said he almost left for Italy but the arrival of Kenny Dalglish, who replaced Hodgson in January 2011 changed his situation.
“I was really close to leaving to go to Italy. For some reason I did not go, I stayed. After a few games, I got my place back in the team and I started to play a bit more. Then Kenny came in.
“I really started to play with a lot of confidence and at the end of the year I was voted Player of the Season by the fans. So that moment was very important.”
Now a key member of Rodgers’ exciting side, the 26-year-old also admitted that competing with the likes of Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso and Momo Sissoko was a daunting prospect when he first arrived at Anfield.
“For me to come here and to try to get into the team competing against Gerrard, Alonso, Mascherano and Sissoko was very hard,” he added.
“I left Brazil in a really good situation and here I was sometimes not even on the bench and out of the squad. It was a difficult period for me but I think it was worth it. Today I realise how important it was for me to have that struggle because it taught me to work hard.”
He added: “A lot of people come now and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry I used to doubt you and used to boo you. I’m sorry, I was wrong’.”
Brazil international Lucas has made over 200 appearances for the Reds, scoring six times.
Poulsen, meanwhile, managed just 12 league appearances for the club before leaving to join Ligue 1 outfit Evian.