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GUARDIAN – Lucas Leiva is Liverpool linchpin Brendan Rodgers wants to keep | Andy Hunter

Steven Gerrard’s end-of-season exit has dominated the headlines but if his Brazilian team-mate joins Internazionale it would create an equally alarming midfield void• David Squires on captain’s farewellRoberto Mancini may not succeed in luring Lucas Leiva to Internazionale this month but his interest has accomplished the often thankless task of demonstrating the Brazilian’s importance to Liverpool. It is not only Steven Gerrard who has the capacity to create an alarming void in Brendan Rodgers’ midfield.The former Manchester City manager wants to add Lucas to his ranks at San Siro following the January signings of Lukas Podolski and Xherdan Shaqiri, although, despite reports of a £7m bid, there has been no official approach to Liverpool from Internazionale so far. Rodgers will be standing in the way should one materialise. It is a surprising stance given his past treatment of the 28-year-old and now a necessity because of Lucas’s influence on Liverpool’s recovery from the malaise that had enveloped the club and manager merely seven weeks ago. Related: Steven Gerrard may return to Liverpool on loan from MLS, says Ian Ayre Continue reading…

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