Lucas Leiva claims the loss of Raheem Sterling to Manchester City will be easier for Liverpool to cope with than Luis Suarez's exit at the same stage in 2014.
After months of wrangling and obvious discontent, Sterling finally secured a move away from Anfield on Tuesday (14 July) as City confirmed his arrival on a five-year contract in a record deal that BBC Sport believes to be worth up to £49m ($76.5m) including add-ons and 20% of that fee is due to former club Queens Park Rangers.
It is the second substantial windfall received by Liverpool in consecutive summer transfer windows. Following a simply sublime individual 2013-14 season in which he almost led Brendan Rodgers's side to the Premier League title by scoring 31 goals in just 33 appearances, controversial striker Suarez became embroiled in yet another biting scandal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was subsequently sold to Barcelona for approximately £65m.
That significant loss coupled with Rodgers's dismal failure to adequately reinvest those funds had a sizeable impact on Liverpool's form last term, with the club notching 49 fewer top-flight goals and dropping out of Champions League contention from second to sixth-place with 22 fewer points.
But Lucas is confident that such an alarming drop can be avoided this time around, claiming it would be unfair at this stage of Sterling's burgeoning career to compare him to an accomplished and bonafide world-class talent in Suarez.
"I think we can live with losing Raheem easier than we did when Suarez left," the Brazilian midfielder said, as reported by The Mirror.
"Suarez scored 30-plus goals for us. So I think it would be unfair to put Raheem in the same bracket. He is a young player, only 20, and has to develop. Of course, he was very important for us for two seasons. But Suarez is one of the best players in the world at this moment in time and he showed that with us.
"Raheem is probably one of the best young players around, but there is a gap between him and Luis. Now he has decided to move on and, as a club, things happen but the club feel that they got a good deal."
Lucas was speaking from Bangkok, where Liverpool kicked off their pre-season tour with a comfortable 4-0 victory over a Thai All-Star team at the Rajamangala Stadium courtesy of efforts from Lazar Markovic, Mamadou Sakho, Adam Lallana and Divock Origi.
The team now move on to Australia for matches against Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United before ending their southern hemisphere excursions against a Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur.
Liverpool also play friendlies against HJK Helsinki and Swindon Town before beginning the new Premier League season with a trip to Stoke City on 9 August.