Jurgen Klopp insists there will always be place for Lucas Leiva at Liverpool following his emotional exit after over 10 years at the club.
The Brazilian recently said an emotional farewell to his teammates and the city he can now call home as he completed a move to Lazio.
His departure sparked an incredible response throughout the Red community, with fans paying tribute to a man they now deem his Liverpool’s adopted Scouser.
Klopp has explained how the decision for Lucas to leave came about whilst also reiterating how he will always be welcome back.
“Things change but Lucas is a special case. He asked for it. I would say he’s a friend. He’s a fantastic person,” the German told ESPN.
“But we always had a very respectful understanding. It was really good. When he left, we both had a little tear in our eye. It was really a special moment.”
“For the team, it’s difficult. It’s the age and it’s life. He could sign a long-term contract in Rome and how can I say: ‘You stay here, but I don’t know if you sign a new contract and I don’t know how often you will play next year’. So you need to be honest, especially with a player like him.”
“He loves Liverpool. It’s unbelievable. He comes from Brazil — it’s a nice country and the weather is much better. He could imagine staying in Liverpool for the rest of his life.”
“I told him that the door is always open for him after his three years and [if] I’m still here, of course, then we will find a place for him. I’m sure he’ll be a fantastic coach or manager.”
To see him leave after so long at the club was incredibly sad, but undoubtedly not the end of the 30-year-old’s special relationship with the Reds.
It seems inevitable that he will return to Anfield in some capacity once his playing career his over, with Liverpool unlikely to pass up the opportunity of recruiting someone perfectly equipped to be a valuable role model for the youth players.
His decade-long career on Merseyside not only saw him develop significantly from a technical point of view, but also become someone who translated a city’s passion and pride into performances on the pitch.
Something tells us we haven’t seen the last of Lucas at Liverpool.