Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is determined to be an important player this season, despite almost leaving the club in the summer.
The 28-year-old appeared to be on the verge of a loan move to Besiktas in August, but injury to captain Jordan Henderson gave the Brazil international an opening and he has started the last two matches against Arsenal and West Ham.
With Henderson’s participation at Old Trafford on Saturday still in doubt as he recovers from a heel injury there is every chance Lucas could start against Manchester United.
Despite the almost constant speculation about his future, the midfielder insists he is fully committed to the club he joined from Gremio in 2007, making him their longest-serving current player.
“I think the last couple of years, every transfer window my name is [linked with a move]. It’s been very intense,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“Of course there are times when you think you might have to move on and I was very close to moving, but one thing I will always have is commitment to this club.
“I’ve been here so long and I always said if I had the choice to be here and be happy, I would always choose Liverpool.
“When your future is in doubt, you might have to think of another solution, but I’m happy that it didn’t happen and I’m here to fight for the club as I have been doing for eight years.
“I’m just looking forward to a good season and putting Liverpool back where it belongs. I have this chance to say I’m fully committed.
“ I just need to now focus on my performance and help in the way the manager and the staff asked me to help.
“Hopefully, I’ll be an important player for the club this season.”