New long-term Liverpool deal for Lucas
Liverpool have confirmed that midfielder Lucas Leiva has signed a new long-contract deal at Anfield, though the exact lenth of the deal has not yet been made public.
Lucas, 24, has committed himself to the Reds after enjoying one of his best seasons since Rafael Benitez signed him from Gremio in 2007.
The Brazil international was a much-derided figure among many fans during his early years on Merseyside, but Benitez, Roy Hodgson and now kenny Dalglish have all placed their faith in him.
"For me it was an easy decision because I know how big Liverpool are and I can see Liverpool are committed to me and are planning for a future with me,'' Lucas said. "The effort from the club was amazing and that makes me feel an important player.
"That's why it was an easy decision. I am pleased with the way Liverpool tried to keep me and now I want to keep doing my best for them. I don't think people thought I could stay here for so long, but now I want to just keep on improving.
"I am really happy. The last few weeks have been really good for me and now I have signed a new contract and can spend more years at Liverpool I will do my best all the time and try to help the club to be bigger and bigger, if that's possible.''
Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli said: "I am very, very pleased. We have been talking for a few months now, ever since I arrived at the club. One of the first things I did after I arrived was to look at the contract situation and to see where Lucas was at.
"I knew we had to do something quickly because we couldn't afford to lose him and didn't want to lose him. If you look at his playing record he started 46 games last year in all competitions and this year it will be between 45 and 50. He is exactly what we want.
"He has the right mentality, quality and attitude. He understands what this club is all about and even though the discussions went on for quite a long time he always said to me 'I want to stay and we need to find a solution'.
"Considering his performances on the pitch with us and with Brazil, and his attitude around the place - off the pitch he's a great professional, totally committed and dedicated and it's always team first when you speak to Lucas - that's why we wanted him to stay.
"The celebration at Sunderland with the players after he'd had his baby shows that the other players were very happy for him and shows he is a team player. He could have gone to many clubs because he is highly rated around Europe, but he always said he wanted to play for Liverpool."
And manager Kenny Dalglish was equally as pleased that his Brazilian midfielder had agreed a new deal.
"We are delighted," Dalglish said."He is a smashing lad to have around the football club but he hasn't been signed for that, he has been signed because of what he does on the pitch. Certainly since I came in he has been a great asset to the team and has done tremendously well.
"He's got wee Pedro to look after and now a new contract as well, and we're delighted for him because he's a really honest, genuine fella and that's reflected in the way he plays.
"He's happy to be here and play for the club and he's getting everything that he deserves at the moment - including being a fixture in the Brazilian team - because of what he's done on the pitch."