Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai will bring "energy and quality" to Liverpool, says former Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva.

Liverpool are hoping to bounce back from a disappointing season that saw them fail to win a major trophy for only the second time in five campaigns, while they also failed to qualify for the Champions League.

They have looked to freshen up their midfield in this transfer window, with Mac Allister and Szoboszlai for sizeable fees from Brighton and Hove Albion and RB Leipzig respectively.

Naby Keita and James Milner left on free transfers at the end of last season, though the departure of captain Jordan Henderson, and the impending sale of Fabinho, both to Saudi Pro League clubs, have perhaps left Liverpool with more work to do than they initially planned.

Lucas believes Mac Allister and Szoboszlai will bring an exciting new dimension to Liverpool, who have been known for their workmanlike midfield in their hugely successful recent period under Jurgen Klopp.

"I think they bring energy, a lot of energy and quality," Lucas said. "Things that to play for a club like Liverpool you must have.

"A lot of players departed so it was important to replace these players, especially in midfield where it's an area of the team that is very demanding. Jurgen asks a lot from the midfield players.

"These players for sure bring a lot of energy and I'm looking forward to watching them too, for sure."

Despite the potential for nerves at joining such a big club, Lucas feels Mac Allister and Szoboszlai will hit the ground running at Anfield.

"When you change a club or you move, of course there is a time that you need to adapt," Lucas explained. "But I think in the preseason, that's why starting from the first day is really important and they did that.

"I think the structure of the team as well with a lot of experienced players, I think they will help them.

"It's really important now in the preseason that they take part of the preseason, the full preseason, so they will understand the way the team and Jurgen wants to play, and I'm looking forward to seeing these two players, especially because they are young and very promising."

Lucas was only 20 when he joined Liverpool. The midfielder explained he struggled initially before going on to make 247 Premier League appearances and becoming an Anfield favourite over a 10-year spell with the club. 

He believes that the previous experience of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai playing in Europe's top five leagues will give them an easier start than the one he had.

"Well my first seasons for Liverpool to be honest, were very difficult," Lucas added. "I was very young, I was only 20 and I left Brazil straight to go to the Premier League, so I took a bit of time to adapt.

"But these players that arrived, I think it's different. Mac Allister, he already knows the league. I think it will be it will be easier for him. So that's very important.

"[Szoboszlai] has got experience as well, he played at a great club in Germany. So I think it's a bit different than when I joined Liverpool. I think the team is more robust I would say."

Lucas Leiva hopes his former Liverpool and Gremio team-mate Luis Suarez will resist the urge to follow Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba to Inter Miami.

Liverpool and Barcelona great Suarez joined Gremio in January, having helped his boyhood club Nacional to the Uruguayan Primera Division title on his return to South America last year.

Suarez has scored four goals in 12 appearances in the Brazilian top flight this campaign, but his future is in doubt amid reports he is Miami's next big-name target. 

Miami have already signed Suarez's former Barca team-mates Messi, Busquets and Alba, and Sunday brought confirmation they had traded with the San Jose Earthquakes to gain another international registration slot.

That move has heightened speculation regarding a move for Suarez, and while Lucas understands the draw of MLS, he hopes Gremio can keep the striker.

Asked about Suarez's future, Lucas – who retired in March after being diagnosed with a heart issue – said: "He made a fantastic impact here in Brazil at Gremio. 

"I think made the right move. Luis is a world-class player, we don't need to speak about his qualities and what he's doing here in Brazil. 

"He's been linked, but I just hope he can stay at Gremio because it's my club and he's my neighbour here!

"I hope he stays a bit longer but MLS is getting attention from every player and from the fans. It's normal that he will be linked with big teams like Inter Miami."

After Messi marked his Miami debut with a dramatic free-kick winner against Cruz Azul in the Leagues Cup, there has arguably never been a more compelling time to follow MLS.

Lucas is among those excited by the league's potential, adding: "MLS is growing every year, people are watching more MLS. If you look back maybe 10 years, nobody would have expected that. 

"Americans know how to do these things, so well done to them. Messi going there will just attract a lot of fans and people who will be following the league, so it's great.

"It's great because football should be everywhere in the world because it is a fantastic sport that people love to watch. 

"We can see him in another league, not in Europe. In America, it's a great thing for the fans that love football. It's a league that is improving and is growing and getting better every season."

Liverpool great John Barnes is not convinced Trent Alexander-Arnold is at his creative best when used in the central role he adopted last season.

Having attracted criticism for a series of defensive mishaps as Liverpool failed to challenge Manchester City last term, Alexander-Arnold switched to a central role in the season's closing weeks.

Liverpool won seven of their last nine Premier League games to finish fifth, a run that started with Alexander-Arnold producing two assists in a 6-1 rout of Leeds United, drifting inside from his right-back position to a hybrid role.

Alexander-Arnold then played in midfield during England's wins over Malta and North Macedonia last month, but Barnes is not sure it will become his permanent position.

"It depends on the games, if you can dominate position," Barnes told Stats Perform. "Possibly when you're playing against City, you're not able to do that.

"Are we going to get a right-back and Trent plays in midfield, or [will he] move into midfield in possession? 

"When he moves into midfield, if you lose the ball, is he able to get back to the right-back position? It really depends on what they want and how they see that. 

"Trent probably produces more playing in the right-back position, in terms of the crosses he puts in for people to score. Playing in midfield, he still creates more from a right-back position. 

"We may look at that situation and say we haven't got a midfield player who's going to produce that kind of pass, but we lose what he has at right-back in terms of his crossing."

With Liverpool bolstering their midfield with the signings of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, Barnes believes there may no longer be a need for Alexander-Arnold to play centrally.

"I don't necessarily feel that Trent creates more goalscoring opportunities playing in that role. But once again, it really depends on necessity," he added.

"Now that we have the midfield players we have, I'd be surprised. We may still do it on the odd occasion, but I think that was more out of necessity than anything else."

Former Liverpool midfielders Lucas Leiva and Gary McAllister, however, believe Alexander-Arnold has the quality to be a good option in either position.

"I think Trent showed that he's got the quality to play in midfield," Lucas said. "As a full-back, you have a little more time on the ball because in midfield you're always under pressure.

"But Trent has the capacity to play in both positions, which is very good. That gives another option to Jurgen [Klopp], depending on the game and depending on the system.

"For sure, he is capable of doing that. I'm looking forward to it also because every year, Trent is improving and getting better and better. He's a world-class player but he's still very young and coming into midfield shows another improvement from him."

McAllister echoed Lucas' thoughts, adding: "He's got the ability and has got such an amazing range of passing, first and foremost.

"But I'm sure Jurgen is going be very careful not to take away his ability to get high and wide to deliver crosses for the forwards.

"Being able to adapt with Trent in two or three different positions is a massive bonus for Jurgen. I thought it was really exciting watching him come off the side.

"I thought he was outstanding and it did marry in with fact that Liverpool finished the season really well. He hit a dozen passes that nobody else in the league could hit."

John Barnes backed Liverpool for a top-three Premier League finish next season, although the Reds great believes the title race will be between Arsenal and Manchester City again.

Pep Guardiola's City overcame Arsenal in a two-horse title tussle last campaign, with Mikel Arteta's Gunners already strengthening for next term by signing Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.

Jurgen Klopp's side were far from their best in the 2021-22 season but battled to a fifth-place finish to secure Europa League football for the upcoming campaign.

Liverpool have bolstered their midfield options by bringing in Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, with Barnes expecting the Reds to return to the top four this time round.

"As I've mentioned in the last year the injury situation really worked against us last season," Barnes, a two-time First Division winner with Liverpool, told Stats Perform.

"And of course, from that perspective, in terms of the age of the players we have to reduce the age and we did that in terms of the young players we had.

"So, it's a bit of a transitional period, not just in terms of the injuries and not having all the players available, but also in terms of having younger players coming into the squad.

"We have to give them time to develop and to grow to show their consistency. So, I have no doubt that we will be back, I'm not going to say we're going to win the league, but we'll be much closer to the top and I fully expect us to be in the top three next season."

Experienced midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, two staples of Liverpool's title-winning side under Klopp in the 2019-20 term, are expected to depart for Saudi Arabia.

The additions of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai will aid Klopp's cause but former England international Barnes believes Guardiola's City will again have too much quality to be overthrown at the top.

He added: "City are favourites, I think Arsenal have strengthened very well in terms of the players they've got with Declan Rice and Havertz, therefore they will be strong once again.

"There was a little bit of inconsistency towards the end of last season, but that will stand them in good stead. So I'll make those two, alongside ourselves, those two will be the main targets.

"Manchester United will also be stronger as well because of the harmony that they have within that squad and the lack of uncertainty in terms of the manager and the players and who's in charge.

"Chelsea will be interesting, to see how [Mauricio] Pochettino handles that situation. And Tottenham, with a new manager [Ange Postecoglou] from Australia, are they going to take that if all of a sudden they don't win matches?

"Are they then going to be negative because he's not a European? So yeah, I think that probably leaves ourselves, Arsenal and Manchester United [for the top four]."

Former Reds midfielder Lucas Leiva echoed Barnes' sentiment, suggesting Liverpool are strong enough to compete alongside the likes of City, Arsenal and United for the title.

"The top six, normally you expect all of them to challenge," the Brazilian said. "City is in a great moment, Arsenal are improving every year as well.

"I think Chelsea are playing only in the league this year. I think that could be better for them. I would say they could concentrate only on the league.

"And Liverpool like every season will be stronger. United as well. So the teams that we expect to challenge. City today are the team to beat but Liverpool are strong enough to compete for sure."

Lucas Leiva has announced the end of his playing career after undergoing tests for a heart problem.

The former Liverpool and Lazio midfielder was forced to withdraw from training at Brazilian club Gremio in December after the discovery was made during a routine screening.

After spending some time to evaluate and undergo further tests, Lucas confirmed at a press conference on Friday that he has decided to call time on his playing days.

"Firstly I would like to thank Gremio for all the support in these three months," a tearful Lucas said. "Today, I am announcing my retirement. 

"It's been a difficult period, I think this is the first time I've cried over this case. But I can only thank you. I'm ending where I'd like, not the way I'd like. But I'm sure a new cycle will begin.

"I had a lot of hope that it could reverse, but it was not the case. My health comes first."

Lucas was joined by Gremio president Alberto Guerra, vice president Paulo Caleffi, coach Renato Portaluppi and team-mate Pedro Geromel, as well as doctors Marcio Dornelles and Paulo Rabaldo.

Dr Dornelles revealed that the Brazilian's diagnosis was scarring in the myocardium. Further testing showed no change after three months away from football activity, and as a result, it was recommended that Lucas end his career.

Lucas made 337 appearances during a 10-year spell with Liverpool where he became a fan favourite at Anfield despite a difficult start, before joining Serie A giants Lazio in 2017.

After leaving Italy at the end of last season, the former Brazil international re-joined Gremio – the club where he began his career.

Gremio won promotion back to Brazil's top tier in 2022 after finishing second in Serie B, with Lucas scoring in the 3-0 win over Nautico that clinched it.

Lucas Leiva has been advised to step away from football for at least two to three months after undergoing tests following the detection of a heart issue.

The former Liverpool and Lazio midfielder was forced to withdraw from training at Brazilian club Gremio earlier this week after the discovery was made during a routine screening.

After announcing on Tuesday that he would be assessed, a further statement from Gremio's medical department was published on Lucas' Twitter page on Thursday providing an update.

"The Medical Department of Gremio communicates that, after alterations were diagnosed in one of the routine pre-season exams of the athlete Lucas Leiva, he was submitted to complementary evaluations and referred to specialists," the statement read.

"Once the evaluations were completed, conducted by doctors Leandro Zimerman and Ricardo Stein, it was determined that the athlete should stay away from high-performance physical activities for a period of two to three months, during which he will be accompanied, monitored and guided by the club's medical team and the aforementioned specialists.

"After this period, Lucas Leiva will undergo further examinations and evaluations to determine the evolution of his clinical condition."

Lucas made 337 appearances during a 10-year spell in England where, after a difficult start, he became a fan favourite at Anfield, before joining Serie A giants Lazio in 2017.

After leaving Italy at the end of last season, the former Brazil international re-joined Gremio – the club where he began his career.

Gremio won promotion back to Brazil's top tier in 2022 after finishing second in Serie B, with Lucas scoring in the 3-0 win over Nautico that clinched it.

Former Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva will undergo tests after the detection of a heart issue forced him to withdraw from training with Gremio.

Lucas made 247 Premier League appearances during a 10-year spell with Liverpool, scoring just one goal in the competition, before joining Serie A giants Lazio in 2017.

The former Brazil international then re-joined Gremio – the club where he began his career – after leaving Italy at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. 

On Tuesday, Lucas tweeted a statement from the Gremio's medical department, announcing he would sit out the team's pre-season preparations while undergoing assessment.

The statement read: "The Gremio medical department communicates that the athlete Lucas Leiva presented, in pre-season routine exams, a picture of having an altered cardiac rhythm.

"Consequently, he is removed from physical activities until the conclusion of complementary exams and treatment of the condition."

Gremio – who have won the joint-most Copa Libertadores titles of any Brazilian club (three) – won promotion from Brazil's second tier in 2022 after finishing second.

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