Lucas Leiva is one play who continues to receive mixed reviews from Liverpool fans. Today I would like to talk to the Liverpool fans who still think that Lucas is not worthy of being in the Liverpool side and should either be on the bench or sold by the club.
It is true that when Lucas arrived from Brazil in 2007 he struggled to break into the Liverpool side. When he was given opportunities to play, he did not cover himself in glory at all. But the Brazilian has steadily progressed for the Reds since 2007 and has become one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League today.
If you just want to see how vital Lucas is, just look at how the Liverpool midfield struggled without him when he was injured last season. This term so far you can see that he is not yet at his flying best as he has taken some time to recover from his injury but if you watched Lucas against West Brom on the weekend, you can see that he is almost back to his best.
Against West Brom, Luis Suarez was the man of the match due to his hat-trick but Lucas was not too far off from receiving that accolade. He controlled the midfield well and was always available to receive the first pass from the defenders when they had won possession. We will not even talk about the penalty he apparently gave away as that was not even a spot kick!
The position Lucas plays in is not a glamorous one; he is not there to make raking cross field passes or bursting runs into the oppositions half, but his job is just to tidy things up in midfield, make critical passes and interceptions and provide protection for the back line. Some say this is an easy position to play in but I beg to differ, you need a good footballing brain to play ther. We saw Brendan Rodgers trying to play Joe Allen in the ‘Lucas role’ last season when the Brazilian was injured and Allen failed to deliver there.
So to hear some fans say that Lucas is the current ‘weak spot’ in the Liverpool side baffles me. With Lucas in the side, he is able to give Gerrard and Henderson (against West Brom) freedom to move forward whilst he hangs back and puts in tackles (seven tackles against West Brom- more than any other player on the field) and he also had a 92% passing accuracy from his 69 passes.
There is no doubt that we are a better side with Lucas in it than without him. His presence gives the players around him the assurance that they can bomb forward knowing that Lucas will be holding back to provide protection for them. The longer the Gerrard and Lucas partnership plays together the more stable you will see our central midfield becoming.