Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva has been named in Brazil’s 18 man squad for the Olympic Games in Beijing this August. Like fellow Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, he will now miss the opening fixtures of the Premier League campaign.
Lucas has been named in a strong Brazil squad featuring Ronaldinho and Robinho as well as new Man City forward Jo and Milan’s Alexandre Pato.
Brazil face China, New Zealand and Belgium in their group, with Lucas set to miss the opening fixtures with Sunderland and Middlesbrough, hopefully returning in time for the Aston Villa match on August 31st. He will also miss the Champions League qualifiers.
See also: Mascherano named in Argentina squad
Should Rafa Benitez fail in his attempts to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa, and if Xabi Alonso departs for Juventus, Liverpool will be left short of central midfielders with Lucas and Mascherano absent leaving only Steven Gerrard and youngsters such as Damien Plessis and Danny Guthrie available.
Goalkeepers: Diego Alves (Almeria), Renan (Internacional). Defenders: Ilsinho (Shakhtar Donetsk), Rafinha (Shalke), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Alex Silva (Sao Paulo), Breno (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Fluminense).
Midfielders: Anderson (Manchester United), Diego (Werder Bremen); Hernanes (Sao Paulo), Lucas (Liverpool), Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona), Thiago Neves (Fluminense).
Forwards: Alexandre Pato (AC Milan), Jo (Manchester City), Rafael Sobis (Real Betis), Robinho (Real Madrid).