Date: 20th July 2011 at 8:00pm
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Liverpool have an unbelievable wealth of midfielders. Alongside club captain Steven Gerrard are the European internationals Dirk Kuyt, Christian Poulsen, Raul Merieles and Alberto Aqualani, who has looked supremely casual in pre-season. Throughout last season, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey impressed immensely, as did Maxi Rodriguez in the last few games. Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic have struggled to make an impact, but are still on the books as things stand. Even so, Dalglish has spent almost £50m acquiring Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and, most recently, Stewart Downing. This is without mentioning promising youngsters Raheem Sterling, Daniel Pacheco and Suso.

The most important midfielder, however – aside from Steven Gerrard – is the much maligned Brazilian, Lucas Leiva. He may not play pretty football, but he is incredibly effective. His battling performances in 2010/2011 won many fans over and he walked away with the supporter’s player of the season award.

Dalglish evidently rates Lucas highly, as he played more games than any other Liverpool player last season, with the exception of Pepe Reina and Martin Skrtel. His abilities are proved by the fact that he won more tackles than any other Premier League player last season, winning no fewer than 111 duels.

So far, Liverpool have certainly been entertainers in pre-season, beating Guangdong 4-3 and a Malaysia XI 6-3. Although it would be foolish to read too much into these friendlies, the absence of Lucas has been quite evident. His positional sense has improved dramatically in recent years, and his discipline has allowed the likes of Gerrard and Merieles to support the attack, whilst maintaining solidarity at the back.

Some see Adam playing in a Xabi Alonso role next season; shielding the defence at the same time as playing as a quarterback. However, Blackpool fans will be the first to testify that, for all his wonderful abilities on the ball, Adam loses possession on a regular basis and his lack of pace is exposed when he plays in such a role.

Many fans are also excited at seeing a Gerrard-Adam-Henderson triumvirate at the heart of the team, but Henderson doesn’t yet possess the experience and discipline to sit back and allow those around to get forward.

Regardless of whether Dalglish chooses to play with two or three central midfielders in the coming months, Lucas’ inclusion in the team is vital.


7 responses to “Lucas’ critical role for Liverpool”

  1. 'Will says:


  2. ruben says:

    are you talking serously?

  3. Towson Tom says:

    With the players we currently have its hard to see what formation is on the cards, maybe Kenny is of a mind to go back to the 50s and 60s when the basic formation was 2.3.5. This reqires two fullbacks (Kelly and Johnson) three central midfielders (carragher, Skrtel and Adam) with front five made up of two wingers (Downing and Kuyt) a centre forward (Carroll) and two inside forwards (Suarez and Meireles/Aquilani). O.K, It isnt realy 2.3.5. because Adam would play in front of Carra and Skrtel but dropping back when reqired the same applying to Meireles/Aquilani who would play behind Suarez and Carroll. So this seems to be but very flexible in both attack and defence. Where does Lucas fit in? well, he could play in place of Either Adam or Mireles/Aquilani or Kuyt then being the permutations are endless but all have a common thread – a powerful team, and thats without bringing in Stevie who will still be the 1st name on probably just ahead of Lucas.

  4. bazza says:

    Ruben, If you are trying to put Lucas down then you have no place as a Liverpool fan as anyone who no anything about football will know that Lucas is a very good player who has captained Brazil U20s and played in every game in the Copa America. Before you say that Brazil have been knocked out like a muppet Lucas’s role was a defensive midfield role which he did well.

  5. Oscar says:

    Lucas will start come Sunderland in a month, and be a key player in Daglish’s plans. I think it is fair to say that Lucas was Daglish’s to performer last season and I agree that we have missed his tactical awareness and tackling in pre-season; hence we have conceded more goals. In my opinion he will be a mainstay in the side, as an Adam-Gerrard partnership would leave space to exploit between defense and midfield. For me it will be the 4-2-3-1 we have used in pre-season: Reina-Kelly-Carragher-Agger-Johnson Lucas-Adam Suarez-Gerrard-Downing Carroll. However, Liverpool now have the versatility to switch to 3-5-2, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 against particular opposition.

  6. sai says:

    aquilani is world class player when played behind strikers.. he can create chances directly from the midfield.. other oprtion are downing from crosses and also adam..