LUCAS Leiva believes he has been a scapegoat for some bad Liverpool performances in the past.
The Brazilian is approaching his 10th year at Anfield, the Reds’ longest serving current player, and has had to put up with his fair share of criticism and links with moves away from the club.
And Lucas insists he understands that frustration from some sections of supporters is natural, and that certain players do become the brunt of criticism.
In an hour-long exclusive chat with The Anfield Wrap’s award-winning TAW Player, he revealed: “The fans are full of passion and you have to understand. You don’t have to agree and sometimes I don’t agree, and I have no problem to say that.
“One thing I’ve learnt, when things don’t go your way, you have a bad game or the team are on a bad run, it will always be two or three players people will blame, that’s the nature of human beings.
“For a few years, and sometimes I still feel that, when I’m involved and we lose a game I know that people will blame me.”
Another taster of our one-hour exclusive interview with @LucasLeiva87.
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 23, 2017
The atmosphere at Anfield has been a hot topic this season, particularly since the unveiling of the new Main Stand, with debates over how some supporters reacted to the team’s dip in form.
While some players insist they are able to block out the negativity from the crowd, Lucas claimed that it’s impossible not to feel the frustration as well as you can when the supporters are in a positive mood.
He said: “You do hear it, of course you do. You can’t only hear it when it’s good. You feel it when it’s bad. I don’t know if it affects (the players) but it doesn’t help at all.
“Thinking as a player, you have to say ‘you should support (for) 90 minutes’ but as a fan — maybe when I’m watching a game as well, as a fan — it’s really hard to be positive and not say ‘you’re shit’!
“We have many games to show that (positivity helps). Dortmund game. Istanbul, I wasn’t there but (it was the same). Inter Milan. Real Madrid, 4-0. The derbies every year. So when it’s really good, even if the team is not in the best moment, it’s really hard to beat Liverpool.”
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 21, 2017
Despite feeling as though he has been the target of much criticism in the past, Lucas does feel he has the respect of the fans and feels he has been appreciated at the club, a feeling which has helped him get to the stage he is currently at with the club.
“I do feel appreciated, of course.
“The word I always wanted to have from my time at Liverpool is respect. I think I’ve got that. I think people respect me, they have different opinions, I have no problem with that, but they respect me.”