Early struggles at Liverpool made me stronger, says Lucas Leiva

The Brazilian had difficulty settling into the Premier League and was often criticised by the Reds' supporters, an experience which he says actually helped him out in the long run
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva says the early struggles he endured at Anfield ultimately helped him become a better player.

The 25-year old revealed that he thought his Liverpool career was over before it had even begun after failing to impress in his first season.

Liverpool fans were largely unconvinced by the Brazilian when he arrived at the club in 2007 and it took the defensive midfielder a couple of seasons before he won the fans over.

He told the club's official website: "It was hard for me when I came, I was a young boy and had no idea about the Premier League, the way football was played here, the culture, the city. Everything was a big change for me.
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"Many times I thought maybe my life here was finished but I always felt something different that told me to keep going, to keep trying to change the opinions, and I think people started to realise the work I was putting into the games.

"Maybe it was not working how I wanted or how you wanted, but as soon as people started to realise I was trying everything I could, people started to give me more credit. That's when I felt everything was changing.

"That period made me stronger and made me realise where I was. Every day of my life I try to give my best for this club, because I really know how big this club is and how much people, the supporters, expect."

Lucas also added that he hopes he can help Liverpool's current crop of young players, including Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey, through what is turning out to be a tough introduction to the Premier League.

He said: "I see criticism of young players and sometimes I feel it's a bit unfair because if you're young, you have ups and downs. Nobody is a top player at 18 or 20. There are only a few who can say that.

"I just try to be around and tell them what I went through.

"Confidence is 50 or 60 per cent of the game. If you have confidence you try more."