Liverpool midfielder Lucas joins Lazio

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Lucas Leiva made 345 appearances for Liverpool following his move in 2007

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has completed his transfer to Lazio.

Lucas, 30, had been Liverpool’s longest-serving player, having joined in 2007 for £5m from Brazilian side Gremio.

The Brazilian played 345 games for Liverpool, including 247 in the Premier League.

His last game for Liverpool came as a substitute in the final Premier League game of last season, a 3-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Lucas will be a direct replacement for Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia, who has joined AC Milan.

Lazio finished fifth in Serie A last season and will compete in the Europa League under manager Simone Inzaghi.

Lucas was pictured at the airport when he landed for his medical

Versatile but often overlooked

Lucas played almost 350 games for Liverpool despite never being a regular fixture in the Reds midfield.

His versatility meant he was also used as a centre-back – a position he found himself in many times during his 31 appearances last season.

Lucas made his Liverpool debut under Rafael Benitez as a second-half substitute in a Champions League qualifier against Toulouse in August 2007.

He was a popular player at Anfield, being named Young Player of the Year in 2010 and Fans’ Player of the Year in 2011.

The departures of Xabi Alonso in 2009 and Javier Mascherano in 2011 saw Lucas became an integral part of the team but he suffered a cruciate ligament injury at Stamford Bridge in December 2011, meaning he missed the rest of the season and Liverpool’s League Cup final win over Cardiff.

He scored seven goals in his Liverpool career but just one in the Premier League – a header in the 3-0 win over Newcastle in May 2009.

He played 45 minutes at centre-back alongside Joel Matip in the friendly against Tranmere Rovers on Wednesday last week but missed Friday’s draw with Wigan.

Lucas also played 24 times for Brazil.

More to follow.

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