Lucas aims to stay at Anfield

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva says he wants to stay at Anfield to fight for his first team place, amid growing speculation linking the Brazilian midfielder with an exit from Merseyside.

Lucas has been rumoured to be the subject of interest from several European clubs, including Inter Milan – now lead by former Reds boss Rafa Benitez.

But the 23-year-old says he is happy with Liverpool and hopes to help them turn their recent misfortunes around.

“I’m happy in Liverpool and looking forward to my fourth season,” he said.

“I hope I stay. I’m happy to play for Liverpool and to improve my performances, as I did last season. I’m not here to try to prove critics wrong. I’m here to prove myself to the manager and my team-mates.

“That’s the most important thing. I don’t know why people criticise me so much but I just try to be positive and be strong. I know I had a good season last season and hope it will be even better this season.

“I have to keep going and show the manager that I can play and have the quality that he expects.”