Can Liverpool really afford to part with Lucas Leiva?

Reports have suggested that the Brazilian could be on his way out of Anfield this season.

Liverpool are open to letting Lucas Leiva leave the club for around £8 million, according to several reports in the media - including the Liverpool Echo.

There is a sense of déjà vu here, because if you cast your mind back to last summer, the Brazilian was also being linked, by the Echo, with a move away from Anfield - only to become an integral part of the Reds midfield during the midway point of the season before injuries started to interrupt his good form.

Lucas has been a player who has split opinion of the Anfield faithful at times, though many have acknowledged the importance he appears to carry within the side when he hits a good stretch of form.

It's hard to think that many will have been surprised to see him omitted from the starting XI for the season's opening day win against Stoke City, though a few eyebrows will have been raised at being left out of the matchday squad altogether, and the 28-year-old remaining on Merseyside. Emre Can getting the nod ahead of him, having arrived back late from pre-season because of international duty, will have also raised a few eyebrows.

So, it does appear that Lucas could see his opportunities limited when all of the central midfield options are fit at Liverpool, but one questions whether the Reds can afford to part with the player. 

After the first international break of the season in September, the games are going to come thick and fast for the Reds, with involvement in both the Europa League and the League Cup getting underway. 

Joe Allen is a much maligned figure by some of the fans and his injury record is mixed at best, while Jordan Rossiter seems to have been played in a deeper role in the pre-season games, but the teenager is only getting back up to speed himself having suffered a knee injury last season. 

Even if Can is successful in the deeper midfield role this season, there is still a real lack of experience in that area, and the options could limit other players who can play in different areas of the side from expressing themselves - therefore Brendan Rodgers may not be getting the best out of players at his disposal. 

Though the lack of game time for player at the age of 28 may suggest that Lucas needs to look elsewhere for the good of his career, some fans will be a gutted at the sight of the Brazilian leaving - not least after his infamous crowd surf during a victory at Villa Park last season. But given how Liverpool have lined up this season, they probably feel they have enough in that position. 

But every departure, like any arrival at the club, has an element of risk to it. 

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