Anfield transformed the career of the Liverpool star before his exit reduced Jurgen Klopp to tears

Tributes have poured in for Lucas Leiva after the former Liverpool man announced his immediate retirement from professional football.

Leiva made 346 appearances for the Reds during his 10-year stay on Merseyside. He announced his retirement on social media on Friday night.

The former Brazil international, who was temporarily sidelined from the game after suffering a heart problem during pre-season training with Gremio in December, joined Liverpool from Serie A side Lazio in the 2017 summer transfer window.

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This means that May 21, 2017 is a date that will live long in the memory of the former midfielder. It was Liverpool’s final game of the 2016/17 campaign – and a game the Reds needed to win against Middlesbrough to secure a top-four finish and return to Champions League football – it was also the last time Leiva would play for Liverpool. .

Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring before half-time, with Adam Lallana and Philippe Coutinho both helping the side cruise to a 3-0 victory. It was certainly the start of something special under Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool reached two consecutive Champions League finals, winning in 2019.

He may not have had the stats and flair of other Liverpool midfielders past and present, but Leiva was well-respected and popular among the dressing room and supporters.

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