The Lucas Effect

6 Dec

The Lucas Effect

 

Saturday’s return of Lucas to the Liverpool team was like a new signing for the Anfield side. He has been out so long to the detriment of the team, that most people forgot what he adds to the side, but after Saturday’s performance we quickly remembered. Lucas slotted into the side with ease as if he’s been playing regularly. To come back into the team and play the way he did with only 60 minutes of under 21 football under his belt was quite amazing , but also an example of his attitude and work ethic to get back playing again.

 

I’ll be perfectly honest in telling you that I wasn’t a Lucas fan when Rafa played him quite a lot in his younger years, and I thought he would never make it in Liverpool’s midfield. But the transition in his game over the last couple of years is quite remarkable and I would have to say that he is the most improved player in the Liverpool squad over that period.

 

I would even hasten to add that I think he plays that role in front of the defence better than any other player in the Premier League and his return is massive for Liverpool. In only one game you could see the difference Lucas made to the style of Liverpool’s play, for probably the first time this season Liverpool were getting men in the opposition penalty area when attacking, players from midfield were flooding into the box awaiting a pass or cross. Liverpool only scored one goal on Saturday, but the chances created were really encouraging and it was only down to poor finishing and good defending and goal keeping that prevented Liverpool scoring more goals.

 

The attacking difference was down to the inclusion of Lucas in midfield. He reads the game so well in that position in front of the defence and breaks up opposition attacks and never seems to give the ball away when in possession. His return to the midfield has freed up players like Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard of their defensive responsibilities and on Saturday you could see they were playing much higher up the park and giving the lone striker Luis Suarez much more support.

 

Lucas is a vital cog in Brendan Rodgers’ machine and up until now he has been deprived of the Brazilian’s importance. So hopefully his injury troubles are behind him and he can improve his match fitness with regular games.

 

Lucas gives Liverpool’s midfield a far more attacking threat with his role to release other midfielders, but his protection of the defence is also an area where he highlights his importance to the team. He senses danger and always seems to break up a dangerous attack or get a foot in to rob an opponent of possession. In the last couple of years Lucas has developed strength to his game and his tackling has improved along with reduction of free-kicks that he was guilty of conceding. His maturity, confidence and improvement in his all round game will give Liverpool a big chance to finish in the top four at the end of the season. Manchester City and United are way ahead of the chasing pack, but Chelsea and Arsenal are having big problems at the moment and I don’t think Spurs will keep their recent good run going, and West Brom and Everton will struggle with injuries and I expect them to fall back a bit. So with Liverpool still within touching distance of the top four and with January moving ever nearer with the hope of adding personnel in the striking department on top of the return of Lucas, I think 2013 could be a good year for the Reds.

 

 

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