Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp keen to keep Lucas Leiva after winner at Plymouth

19 January 2017 07:54

Jurgen Klopp insists FA Cup match-winner Lucas Leiva will be staying at Liverpool beyond the January transfer window.

Lucas has started only three Premier League games this season and has been linked to a January move, with Italian giants Inter Milan said to be leading the race for his signature.

But after the Brazilian's goal saw Liverpool through their third-round replay at Plymouth 1-0 - his 18th-minute header his first goal for over six years - Klopp said the 30-year-old is going nowhere.

Asked if Lucas was definitely staying at Liverpool, Klopp replied: "From my point of view, yes.

"What is definitely in this job? We have a kind of agreement. So I would say yes."

Lucas skippered a much-changed Liverpool side which called on the attacking power of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho, but Klopp still started with four teenagers and brought another two off the bench.

His smart header from a Coutinho corner was Lucas' first goal since scoring in a Europa League tie against Steaua Bucharest in October 2010.

Lucas' winner secured a fourth round home tie against Wolves and Klopp said: "He played in an old-against-young match last week when we finished training and he was top scorer.

"I was really surprised he didn't score for that long.

"But he has a great personality, is a good player and a really good guy.

"Sometimes you have to line up without him, and it's not his hobby to accept this.

"But he's okay and really important for us."

Klopp was also delighted that Coutinho managed 65 minutes on his first start since damaging ankle ligaments at the end of November.

"Coutinho was good, he is very important for us," Klopp said.

"He had 65 minutes and it was perfect intensity. It was good for him and good for us."

On his much-changed line-up - only teenage full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Origi survived from the side which drew 1-1 at Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday - Klopp added: "I named the team I could name.

"It depends on who is available and what is our situation.

"We play now Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Tuesday and if I play all the same players I would be be a real idiot.

"So I don't do it and we will see who lines up on Saturday."

Plymouth's cup run might be over, but it has been a thrilling and profitable adventure for the Devon club.

It is estimated that the Pilgrims have made around £1million from the competition this season and Plymouth, currently second in League Two, will now re-focus their energies on promotion.

"We've put Plymouth Argyle on the map again, the support we've had over the two games has been fantastic," manager Derek Adams said.

"We've shown a worldwide audience we can get back to where this club feels it belongs - and that is in the Championship.

"There is a population of 300,000 here - the biggest city not to have had a team in the Premier League - and we are building the blocks to move the club through the leagues again."

Source: PA