Lucas Levia: 'Rafael Benitez believed in me'

Lucas Levia: 'Rafael Benitez believed in me'
© PA Photos
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva says that Rafael Benitez played an important part in helping him to flourish at the club.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has spoken of the impact that Rafael Benitez has had over his career.

Benitez visits Anfield for the first time since he left the club in 2010 when his
Chelsea side play the Reds today, and the Brazilian has hailed the Spaniard for the role he played in his improvement as a player.

"He was maybe one of only a few people who really believed in me when I first came to the club and he gave me the chance to prove people wrong," Lucas is quoted as saying in the club's match-day programme.

"Everyone knows the importance of Rafa, and especially for me. I'll always be grateful for that because if it had been another manager maybe I wouldn't have still been here.

"Rafa was very important for my development and it will be strange [to compete against him], but we know how football works. He is now trying to do well for Chelsea and we hope we can beat him."

Lucas was signed by Benitez for the Reds in 2007 and the midfielder has since played over 200 games the club.

Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring a penalty and the winner against Spurs on March 10, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City23202167175062
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd23155348163250
3Liverpool23138254282647
4Chelsea23145441162547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs23135546212544
6Arsenal23116641301139
7Burnley239771920-134
8Leicester CityLeicester238783432231
9Everton2376102538-1327
10Watford2375113342-926
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2367102941-1225
12Crystal Palace2367102133-1225
13Bournemouth2366112435-1124
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2366111939-2024
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2365122131-1023
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2358101729-1223
17Southampton2349102334-1121
18Stoke CityStoke2355132350-2720
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom23310101830-1219
20Swansea CitySwansea2345141435-2117
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