Gerard Houllier - RIP :-(

4 Sept 2011

The tragic loss of Lucas Leiva...

Last season, Liverpool's Lucas Leiva (rather improbably) made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League. The Brazilian is already topping the charts again this season too, which is great, but I can't help feeling that the club is actually losing out.

According to OPTA stats, Lucas scythed his way to 172 tackles last season, and he's top of the pile again this season with 22 tackles so far. Excellent figures for such a comparatively slight player, especially in the rough and tumble of the Premier League, but are we seeing the real Lucas Leiva?

I don't think so. Whilst I applaud Lucas's excellent defensive contribution for Liverpool, it's kind of sad that he's been forced to subjugate his true nature as a footballer in order to do a 'job' for the team.

When Lucas arrived at Liverpool, he was not a defensive midfielder; he was one of the most promising young attacking midfielders in Brazil, and a recipient of the Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball), an award presented to the best players in the Campeonato Brasileiro, won by attacking luminaries such as Zico, Falcão, Romario, Robinho, Kaká and Tévez.

As his comments after Lucas's signing show, Rafa Benítez clearly saw him as an attacking purchase:

"I am looking forward to seeing him [Lucas] score goals for Liverpool in the future".

Well, 171 appearances later and Lucas has a paltry 6 goals to his name, which equates to one goal every 28 games. And after a creditable 9 assists in his first two seasons, his record has plummeted to 4 assists in the last 2 seasons.

It's not Lucas's fault though; every players wants to be in the first team, and Lucas has 'adapted' his game to suit the needs of the team. And when I say adapted, I mean forced by successive managemes to play defensive role in order to accommodate other players.

Liverpool has basically bred the attacking instinct out of Lucas and turned him into an eager and willing workhorse; someone who does all the donkey work. It's not many teams who can lay claim to the dubious honour of converting an attack-minded Brazilian into a water-carrier, but that's precisely what the club has done.

The question is, does it matter? Lucas has seemingly found his place in the team; he's getting the tackles in and carving out a successful, if unspectacular career as a defensive midfielder. All's well that ends well, right?

Not for me. There's just something inherently tragic about the deliberate suppression of creative instinct, and the concomitant failure to realise creative potential.

I'm not saying Lucas was a Messi-in-waiting, but if the club had developed his attacking potential instead of shoehorning him into a defensive role, it's possible we could be drooling over the great goals Lucas has scored rather than trying to muster up the energy to feign enthusiasm over the number of tackles he's made.

The irony of the whole situation is that despite working so hard to make the defensive midfielder position his own, he doesn't really have a strong grip on it. Does anyone really think that Lucas *won't* be dumped as soon as Liverpool find someone perceived to be a better DM?

I believe Lucas will be cast aside next summer, and the loss of his true footballing self will, unfortunately, have been for nothing.

Until then, here's hoping Lucas beats last season's total of 172 tackles. I know I'll be on the edge of my seat, eagerly waiting to see if he can do it.

Jaimie Kanwar

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129 comments:

  1. Jamie, I genuinely don't think that he will be dropped. Kenny clearly rates him very highly and for good reason. He is more than a water carrier and does a far more important job than, say, Busquets of Barca.

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  2. Hi Isaac - i don't think he'll be dropped in the short-term but when some superstar English DM becomes available (say, in January or next summer), I think Lucas's day as an automatic starter will be numbered.

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  3. Much better this time around Jamie lol. I do remember Lucas being hailed as a 'box to box' player. I do hope that the formation will lend itself to everyone being able to play, including lucas. One pass that stands out in the memory is when we smashed newcastle and he put Gerrard through with a delightful ball.
    I have been very impressed with him this season and have taken time to actually watch his play. 

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  4. How do you manage to come up with such shit articles?

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  5. Get lost! very poor article. 

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  6. Lucas was never good enough to be an attacking/goal scoring midfielder. His creativity and forward passing to create goal scoring opportunities has always been below par since joining Liverpool. What Rafa did was make the best use of him after discovering that Lucas could never be the player he was in the south American league, in the premiership. Well done to Rafa, and the King as well as Lucas himself for adapting to a new role that he is now beginning to excel at.

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  7. pretty poor article.  he was *never* bought as an attacking midfielder. before he played for liverpool, he was seen as more of a box to box player than he currently is, but he's never been solely an attacking midfielder. he can do this job alright, as he sometimes been played slightly further forward, but his true strengths have been identified, largely by benitez, who you slagged off for keeping faith with him.

    he is one of the top players in his position in europe, and has been liverpool's most consistent performer over the past 2 years. so what is your point? that a player who has grown from someone booed by his own crowd at anfield to being one of the first names on the teamsheet by 3 LFC managers is somehow being played out of position? he's a great player, good professional who is doing a great job in a position he has made his own - think of the current crop of central midfielders in the squad and the rest who have come and gone during lucas' tenure.

    how doesn't lucas have a strong grip on this position? he's been constantly chosen by benitez, hodgeson, daglish and the brazillian manager, all playing a similar position.  there's *NO CHANCE* that dalglish would think about moving him on and bringing someone else in while lucas has such form and fantastic stats.

    i really don't understand the point of this article.

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  8. if you don't understand the point of this article then argue your points, which are very welcome. I've removed the derogatory comments you included; any more in further posts and I'll no option but to ban you.

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  9. ...also, can you point out anything that suggests he would be better suited to either be playing an attacking role now, or when he first came into the team.
    i'm one of his biggest fans, but going forward in the premier league, he has never had what it takes for that.

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  10. stop talking bolloks you here is a man who said g+h were good for the club 

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  11. Many footballers start out in different positions. It's what managers see in certain players, i.e Rafa seen Lucas would be better suited as a defensive midfielder, which turns out he was right, as the stats you talk about prove. I don't think Lucas would make it in the Premier League as an out and out attacking midfielder, although he is decent enough creating things going forward. For me he is the perfect holding midfielder

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  12. My point is that *before* he came to Liverpool, he was an attacking mid with great potential.  Since then, he's been converted to a DM.  I'm bemoaning the loss of Lucas's attacking potential.  If that side of his game had been developed then perhaps we'd see a different player today.  

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  13. People still don't get it after 5 years?  If you post derogatory comments of any kind in your post it will be deleted.  End of story.  People who can debate fairly are welcome; those who just hurl insults can go elsewhere.  

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  14. Jaimie, you seriously need to find a new job!

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  15. Lucas was never good enough to be an attacking/goal scoring midfielder. His creativity and forward passing to create goal scoring opportunities has always been below par since joining Liverpool. What Rafa did was make the best use of him after discovering that Lucas could never be the player he was in the south American league, in the premiership. Well done to Rafa, and the King as well as Lucas himself for adapting to a new role that he is now beginning to excel at.

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  16. he won't get dropped. he's a young capable player which ticks all the boxes in the criteria set out by John Henry. The fact that he was voted Player of the Season means that everyone at the club acknowledges the role he plays in the team. Bad article 

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  17. Who honestly cares? We have some great attacking midfielders so we don't need him to play there. Are you going to complain about Kelly playing RB because he isn't as involved with the defensive side of things so you can't see his true ability? If a player changes position and completely owns it then hooray! 

    On the other point, that's madness. There is no way in hell, and I'll bet my life on it, that Lucas will be dumped. That's stupidity. You seem to be questioning the transfer policy and seemingly think that it is an all British one. If so, why did we buy Coates instead of Cahill? It is ability not nationality and Lucas has the former pouring out of every orifice.

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  18. which position he was boughtto play or how is not really that important, as I think Lucas has shown he is one of the best players in red shirt at the moment. when paisly bought Kenneddy as a striker soon he found out that he is postion was in midfield and he become a success for liverpool.
    what i love most about Lucas is his caracter, how a big part of fans and some of the old liverpool legend like John Aldridge and Ian st John turn against him and i even remember soem of those said on radio that he was not good enough to wear a red shirt or he was Liverpool worse player in its history. And that happened when he was only a young lad and came to paly in foreign country. how he made those to eat his work .
    now people who say he isonly good at tackling, please look at his stats on his passing, i am confident that you see a massive improvement in that area as well.he may not assist goals as he plays deeper but his sucess pass rate must be one of highest in premier.  what more he is superb in air , the evidence is in Bolton game which he won most of the battles with Kevin Daves in the air and more that that, he has a lot of energy, I just hope he starts scoring some goals then we will have a super star in our team .
    Jamie, I think you are worng on your forcast he will be dropped nad he had not faled but imrpved more that any player in many years.   

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  19. Lucas isn't the first player to be converted from his original position to fit the team's requirement. Ray Kennedy was converted from a forward to a left midfielder by Bob Paisley to great success. Carragher played effectively as a left back then as a  right back before finally settling as a center back in Rafa's first season with us. Gerrard  played a season as a right winger and ended up scoring 23 goals. Lucas helps the club most as a defensive midfielder, that's why successive Liverpool and Brazil managers play him there. By the way, if Dalglish wanted a English DM in his place, he wouldn't have given him a long contract extension last March. He could've bought someone in his place, like Lee Cattermole for example. 

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  20. Be that as it may. If you really said h + g were good for the club then I have to agree. You are talking testicles, gonads, or what ever you want to call them.
    But I personally think you are more like the disruptive child in a classroom. You write rubbish to attract attention. From now on, when I see an article written by yourself I will avoid it like The Sun newspaper.

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  21. Jaime. I read that Torres started his football career as a goalkeeper. But it takes people with insight and knowledge in of the game to get the actual potential out of players. 

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  22. Lucas has the potential to be better than mascerano.  As good as Mascerano was for Liverpool he was one dimesional. win the ball give it someone else. Lucas is doing this now however he is more confident about making a forward pass than Mascerano ever was.
    this is something i think Lucas will improve on were as most DM never loose the ball because they only make sideways or backwards passes.

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  23. Jaimie these people replying with he has never been an attacking player simply havn't read your post - it must wind you up! Lucas was indeed an attacking player in Brazil that is well known, I remember people comparing Anderson during his time of acquisition and Lucas was seen as a much more attacking talent. Lucas had a good start in the reserves linking up attacking play and scoring a goal but then when he came into the first team the pace and style of the premier league was a shock to the 20yr olds system and thought pattern during a game, it was tottaly different to Brazil. Plus he was being compared to and paired in midfield with Alsono and Gerrard who lets face it were amongst the best centre midfielders in world football. He got off to a bad start and the crowd turned on him which shut his confidence down and made him play the sideways passes and make up for the loss of forward play by trying as hard as possible to tackle, harry and defend well. He had Mascherano to learn from! So he learned from one of the best! Lucas should have IMO like many other south americans gone to play in a lesser european league such as the erdivsise (like suarez) prior to joining the EPL as it is allows them a platform to adapt to European style whilst still giving them time on the ball to develop their confidence and attacking technique / vision. Lucas has one hell of a charachter and determination to succeed, but he was thrust into EPL action - what has to be said too early.  He has however made the best of the situation and learnt the defensive midfield role so well that there are few others quite as well defensivley rounded as the lad in the EPL and becuase of this he has earned the number 4 shirt for Brazil and is a regular in the Brazil side which cannot be said for other talents such as Ramires, Anderson, Hernanes and Hulk to name only a few. It just goes to show if you work hard during difficult times and make the best out of the situation you face, good things can happen. I bet if you asked him would he change anything he would say no. The fact is he was never going to be as creative or deadly as Neymar, Pato, Ganso, Robinho, Lucas Moura etc, he is steadily becoming a world class defensive midfielder. I am also quite confident under Kenny his attacking qualities will come to the fore and he will develop and improve his attacking play. Nevertheless I do understand where your coming from,  everyone wants to be the goal creator / scorer and its a shame he hasnt got or maybe even lost that side of his game but I wouldnt right him off re-developing it just yet he only 24 after all.

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  24. Excellent post, Jaykean. Lots of great points. Hopefully you're right, and Lucas will make the position his own in the long term.

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  25. Lucas does sideways and backwards passes all the time. His contribution to our attacking play is non existent.  All he does is winning tackles and that's never good enough for any midfield player in any ambitious Premier League team. Hope Jaimie is right and Lucas get's relegated to the bench once a proper central midfielder comes in. Anfield has forgotten what a world class CM looks like I'm afraid ...

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  26. Copious Amounts of Failure10:04 pm, September 03, 2011

    Maybe you should take a minute before you write these 'articles'. Lucas was a box to box midfielder. In Brazil. In a slow paced Brazilian league. He has never been known for having much guile, strength or pace. Unless he could have improved that his future as a top level Premiership attacking midfielder wasn't good. Knowing that basic knowledge it was a bad buy by Benitez. But the brilliance of Benitez was to take that into account, take into account his reading of the game and running off the ball and get him in the gym to bulk up and become the world class defensive midfielder he is. He was NEVER going to become a decent box to box or attacking midfielder in the Premiership. Never. He just doesn't have the attributes. But he did have some outstanding attributes as a defensive midfielder and, instead of casting him off as I suggested, Rafa worked on him until he became one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premiership. Well done to the LFC coaching staff. They saved his career.

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  27. Excellent post, Jaykean. Lots of great points. Hopefully you're right, and Lucas will make the position his own in the long term.

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  28. Lucas would be the first player on my team sheet, and he has been for the past three years. His work rate his second to none, his ball retention is superb and just as important he loves Liverpool football club, you would know that if you followed him on twitter. Its all too easy to shout about Suarez, Gerrard etc etc, but if you don't have the football, you can't score goals!!

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  29. I'd like to debate the merits of this blog and its purpose. Why exactly does the club need a blogger who only writes negative stories about the club and constantly pushes an agenda? Debate. 

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  30. Are we sure that this Liverpoo-Kop mob are LFC fans.?
     
    I know from working with some mancs, that they laugh their socks off at aall the so called LFC blogs/so called reporters for themain apers who hate LFC

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  31. If you don't like this site, don't visit.  It's that simple.  And I've n0 interest in debating anything with people who refuse to look at things fairly.  I write lots of positive stuff; in the last week alone there have been several positive articles.  This site is about critical evaluation of the club - if you want positive tub-thumping there are plenty of sites out there that cater to that.

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  32. Counterpoint - Many of the inflammatory stories are written in such a way only to get more hits/ad revenue for the sight off newsnow. 

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  33. So you are not a proponent of free speech/open debate? 

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  34. Of course, but I'm not going to waste my time on debating pointless issues.

    Why exactly does the club need a blogger who only writes negative stories about the club and constantly pushes an agenda?

    This is a pointless question.  It's not about 'need' - If I want to write about LFC, I will.  The only agenda I have is against cheating, greed and disloyalty in football.  And I don't only write negative articles, but even if I did, so what.  It's a free country.

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  35. We might have seen a different player but who can say? He's a very good defensive midfielder, not far behind the best in the premier league: Scott Parker/De Jong. Why bemoan having a very good player who I think we would find hard to replace. He's made himself a first team player and he's straight into my first 11.

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  36. If you still think he has attacking potential then I'm afraid you are being very bias and clearly not watched enough of him over the years.  Step out of the liverpool mode, take out the emotion and make a sensible, honest footballing suggestion.  The man could not even score in a brothel or has many attempts which end up looking like a try.  Same thing happened to Ngog and will also happen to J Spearing....they are not consistent enough to be warranted a regular start. 
    Suso, Sterling, now there's class in the making. this is why we have had to go out and buy other attacking midfielders.  This is what annoys me about some of the liverpool fans and why we have not won the league for so long.  We obviously cannot afford to buy too many world class players and have to big up what we have, even if its an average player.  Lucas does the job well in that position and when we finally get into the champions league and have more money to spend, like another fan said, we can go out and buy players like the Mascherano and Essiens of this world.  Lucas will eventually be a squad player.  The year we came close to winning the PL we had world class midfielders like Alonso & Mascherano.  Lucas is decent and I know he plays for Brazil, but that does not mean he is world class like Essein.  Can you really seem him getting into the Barcelona, Real Mardrid, Chelsea or Man city side? Or them coming in for him....i guess not. 
    Anyway this is not about lucas its about the team and we need another winger (Adam Johnson in Jan 2012) and a out and out striker similar to owen, fowlers and torres.  Some fans I here are saying we should win the league this year which is ridiculous at this stage.  Get to Xmas and then see where we are in feb.  Personally Man city and Manchester U look favourite with all the world class players they have.  We may have a chance but too early to say.  

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  37. I haven't knocked Lucas's ability - he's a good DM.  On a pure football level, I just think it's sad that a Brazilian creative player has been turned into a defensive mid.  It's a subversion of the natural order of things!

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  38. agreeing with PAPA. Jaimie, if you've bothered to watch the games that Lucas has played in, you'd clearly see that he that being a defensive midfielder is where he's best at. When he does attack, his shots are usually way off the mark. Its hardly a 'tragic' loss as we have plenty of attacking midfielders (see: Jonjo Shelvey; Jordan Henderson). He just didn't have the quality to be a regular as an attacking mid

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  39. You've missed the point of the article. Before Lucas arrived, he was an attacking mid with great promise. He won an award that lots of other renowned attacking players had won (Romario, Kaka etc). It is beyond dispute that he was an attacking player before Liverpool. The sad thing is that all the attacking instinct has been bred out of him, and he's been turned into a defensive mid. I hate to see the creativity sucked out of attacking players, and that's what's happened with Lucas.

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  40. Another person who did not read my post properly.  Where did I say that he should be an attacking player *now*, or that he was any good?  I'm highlighing the loss of Lucas's creative instinct over the last 3 years.

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  41. Q) Does anyone really think that Lucas *won't* be dumped as soon as Liverpool find someone perceived to be a better DM? A) So far I think the majority would say he won't be dumped. I think he's quite happy with the role he has for both club and country. 

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  42. I kept hearing all these stories about Lucas' attacking abilities from his time in Brazil, but I just haven't seen any of it. No matter who his partner has been, whether it was Masch, Poulsen or Spearing, it has always been the responsibility of his partner to get forwards.

    Despite being the prime ballwinners for the team when they were around, and despite their obvious limitations in the final third we nevertheless saw Masch and Sissoko consistently attempting to take the initiative approaching the opposition box in a manner that we never see with any sort of consistency from Lucas - I just don't understand how he has so completely lost those instincts since arriving at Liverpool.

    And for those who keep bleating on about the stats of 'tackles made' proving what a great player he is, consider the other juggernauts that lead in this stat as evidence of how important it is. And also look at who leads in the corresponding 'tackles lost' stat...

    I hate to have to continue to knock Lucas, as I honestly do think that he has improved greatly since he was first handed a starters berth and does look to take more responsibility for his role in midfield now, but when I see the arguments about him having been such a great performer in the past, or is irreplaceable now, I just feel that I have to provide a counterweight to those arguments.

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  43. You don't seriously buy into the stuff about players loving their clubs just because of a few tweets do you???  :-o

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  44. No way in hell? You must not value your life that much if you'd be willing to gamble it on the opinion that we couldn't improve on Lucas! Meireles was voted player of the year last year (when we were a midtable team) - didn't help him much in securing his place did it??

    Lucas has definitely improved to the point that I'd consider him a good DM now, but we could definitely upgrade in his position with a more capable player still. Many of our fans unfortunately seem to have fallen victim to this attitude of low expectations, that says since Chelsea and Man U have gotten away with using under-performing players such as Mikel and Carrick, that we must merely look to match those minimum standards, rather than just looking to be the best that we could possibly be

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  45. well JK... i think theres more to Lucas game than his outstanding tackling stats... look the way he distributes the ball around the park... its wat we really wants... keep the ball moving and he does it so well, u guys can see that like a season ago u can only see Lucas passing the ball to defense or sideways... but now apart from doing the dirty work he puts really effective passes forward... he's a top top defensive midfielder... (if u guys wanna see how many goals Mikel scored for chelsea in the EPL) well im happy Lucas already scored more than him and does well at wat has been asked of him.... Lucas has been the best player for the past 2 seasons... he is consistent and well we need more passers... we have got almost a complete package in him... Rafa did gud to trust him... YNWA

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  46. LEAVE LUCAS ALONE,hes doing his job.

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  47. so who do you think is responsible for this 'subversion of the natural order of things'? I've read all of he article and comments and the only time you've had anything conversational to say is when someone is agreeing with you on some level. Lucas was a great attacking player in Brazil, sure. He scored goals, sure. If you believe that the reason he didn't carry that over here was any others than his own then you are wrong.
    Make it clear, when you write these things, who you're talking about rather than making vague accusations towards someone: 'he's been turned into a defensive midfielder', by whom? He's turned into one, yes, but by who? I think  'IMO' that we've not seen the attacking player that Benitez had seen. I also feel if he hadn't adapted the way he had then we'd be feeling more problems in midfield than we are now. 

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  48. Get over it. The only DMs I rate more highly than Lucas in the Prem right now are Toure and Parker and he is only 24. You obviously must not rate the team that highly if you think Lucas is only a match to minimun standards. 

    You're argument that we could upgrade his position is weak as there are always going to be better players out there. He is currently performing on par with Mascherano and has the potential to become a top class player. If it isn't enough that he is a 1st team regular for club, he also is for country and has won the Bola de Ouro.

    He also had the best stats tackling wise in the Premier League last season which is physically the toughest league in the world.

    You may say we shoud look at Sissoko or M'Villa but IMO Lucas is better and as previously mentioned, plays in a tougher league. Stop worrying about players we don't have and get behind the players we do.

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  49. I honestly don't see where you are trying to go with this article. Clearly Lucas is happy with the position he is playing at the club which has also got him recognition for his national team. Patrice Evra started out as a striker but now is one of the best left-backs there are. Are either of these players complaining? NO, because they are happy to be playing a part at the highest level for their club and country.

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  50. You really know how to wind people up with your pathetic attention grabbing mis-leading titles. You are being controversial for the sake of traffic, what a rotten blog.

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  51. You can't see where I'm trying to go because you're being narrow-minded. My message is perfectly clear: I think it's a shame that Lucas's attacking instincts have been suppressed in favour of taking a more defensive role. At no point do I cast aspersions on his ability. It's a fact that he came to Liverpool as an attacking player - it's fine to adapt to a new position but I'm also allowed to feel saddened that creative instinct is not nurtured more.

    The wider context here is that English football is renowned for the 'huff and puff' hoofball approach, with strength, stamina and bulldog spirit valued more than flair and unpredictability.

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  52. Ok, so it seems people cant read...
    Jamie i understand your point, but, and its a big but, if it doesn't work to try and get the attacking qualities out of a player when we had other stronger attack minded players in the team then its best to find another position that is best for him. Lucas has flourished in the holding mid role, and may he continue to do so. I just feel to be an attack minded mid you need vision and i just dont think he has enough of that. That is an ability that i think is difficult to develop, especially in the prem league where you have very little time on the ball. 
    Im afraid that when Stevie G comes back it may look like the bench for Lucas. But that doesn't mean he will eventually be sold, it just sees greater rotation in the squad to keep players fit and to keep competing for the top four.
    I wasnt a fan of Lucas in his 1st 2 years but i have to say he has changed my opinion, grit and determination and a will to prove doubters like myself wrong, which he has done.
    Now i deserve a slap in the face!! 
    YNWA

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  53. I think jaimie as always has a good debate here, first of all Jaimie, Lucas wont be dumped next year he will be crowned best defensive midfielder in liverpool and maybe the whole league ( looking at your stats) hope to see it happen. Secondly Lucas might have been an attack minded midfielder when bought but whos to say that Lucas doesnt have the intelligence to adapt, (which he did intelligently). Why? How? well Dont forget Liverpool had the Best Midfield in the world at the time, Gerrard, MascH, Alonso, and when they were fit lucas was a sub, Lucas the genius benefitted while on the bench and has learnt his trade from the best. Masc< Alonso<Gerrard.
    Lucas can be the next Fabregas type if he will be given the license, and if he feels up to it,  but I doubt he will be allowed as Liverpool have heavily invested in other midfielders to do that task.

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  54. But he was never a 'creative midfielder' was he Jamie. He was a box to box midfielder known for being an anoaly in Brazil. The problem was that he didn't have the athleticism necessary to be a success as a box to box midfielder in England. Hence everyone thought he was sh!t. Because he was sh!t. The coaching staff at Liverpool deserve massive credit for turning him into the player he is now and not Djemba Djemba.

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  55. Rob, not sure about
    Chelsea. Would you swap Lucas for John Obi Mikel
    ... I dont think so – please don’t say yes as don’t want to even think about
    this;-)

     

    The good news is Lucas
    will continue to improve and he has plenty of time to do so. I believe one day
    he will be the best DM in the World and be able to get into any of the teams
    you mention. Just look at Mas who could not get into West Ham team … Lucas will
    be better!  

     

    I also get the feeling
    he is well liked by the rest of the squad. KK knows that just buying a top
    player for every position does not necessarily make a winning side ..
     look at Real Madrid. Think you will find Lucas will be around for a long
    time and will be very important player helping us to win  - hopefully our next title.

     

    With regards the
    general question of not using his natural abilities, KK will allow him much
    more freedom as KK loves to attack and engenders a much more fluid approach. As
    a result hopefully he can combine his new defensive skills with his ‘long lost’
    attacking abilities to become the greatest DM in the World. Its only a matter
    of time!

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  56. To get hits and comments - things that can make such a site work !!!!! :P........:P ............... to be fair I think this article resembles my thoughts 18-24 months ago, but I am happier having Lucas as a DM and on every team sheet rather than him being a CAM and hardly getting games ....... this article though is a little over the top ......... people continuously develop and change ....... Yaya Toure did a defensive job at Barca but Mancini gives him a freer role thus racking up a few goals and assists ........ Carragher - RB to CB !!!! These are just a few ........ Lucas' heading has not been the best since he arrived and when you are going to get crosses in you would want a Gerrard meeting it rather than a Lucas ........ so in my opinion the management have done an excellent job, I restate - Lucas won't have had games with the Brazilian national team as an attacking midfielder

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  57. Again, he was a box to box midfielder. He didn't have anymore of a creative instinct than say, Scott Parker. The difference being that in the Premiership Scott Parker can get up and down the pitch better than Lucas. As Nasri showed he just doesn't have the athleticism to get forward and back as he did in Brazil. And bear in mind that now he is a more dynamic midfielder than when he first came here and he still gets skinned. Ramires and John Obi Mike have similar issues at Chelsea and have therefore been reconstructed as holding midfielders. It's not a loss if he didn't have the attributes to cut it in tthe first place. If anything it's a major gain for the lFC coaching staff who remolded him and kept faith. Rafa got us a waste of money and a bargain at the same time.

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  58. ^^^^ exactly ........... he will surely develop his attacking qualities given his determination and now that the crowd are on his side :)

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  59. I would just like to reply one of the comments that said , Lucas is great and always on the teamsheet first by  3 managers

     I think that guy needs to WAKE up. Midfielders hve acome and gone and lucas still here. Please. Nobody wanted lucas all this while chaps and thats that.

     Last season we had aboslute rubbish with injuries and squad alike thus he was named first on the sheet by daglish and hodgson( by the way if you guys out there are rating hodgson on lucas's career than how blind you guys are, dont get me wrong i think hodgson a good manager BUT not for Liverpool). Benitez clearly loved him(lucas) as he bought him so no doubt he was around all that time.

    Lucas i believe is rough diamond that was never properly cut. I think  Jamie has his point about him starting as a prospect of an attacking player and benitez to me "drained" it out as he did not like players expressing themselves and also to technical on every strategy.

    as far as we go to replacing Lucas, i think Kenny believe he may still be able to salvage the talent in there but i agree that if we get a more experienced or more influential DM his time will be up.


    If Lucas was so great why only a few offers over 5 years. I think only 1 that stood out. some interest from Juventus - That helped take Momo of our hands and ended up in shites.

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  60. BUT HE WAS NEVER A FLAIR PLAYER IN BRAZIL!!! That's why they assumed he was suited to the premiership. Why can't you get this? A reknown Spanish pass and move tactician got him playing as a holding midfielder and he is now keeping the ball as well as any midfielder in the Premiership. What has this got to do why 'hoofball'? I really don't understand the point of this article or its relation to 'the wider context'.

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  61. I've watched Lucas play with Gremio and he was not some glamorous attacking midfielder, even if he wasn't a defensive midfielder. As someone has already written, he was a box-to-box type. Anyone who has seen Lucas anywhere near the box in his time at LFC should know that he is very, very limited there. Can't go past players, has a very ordinary shot, is not super fast and is average in the air. He would be wasted in an advanced role. Simple.

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  62. Ramakrishna Chinnien7:00 am, September 04, 2011

    ARE ALL U GUYS BLIND !!!
    FOR ONCE JAIMIE IS RIGHT
    AND I AM 700% AGREEING WITH HIM
    LUCAS WAS MORPHED INTO A DM BY RAFA
    BUT INHERENTLY HE IS A CREATIVE MIDFIELDER
    WHAT A WASTE !!
    WE COULD HAVE BENEFITTED SO MUCH MORE FROM HIS CREATIVE INSTINCTS
    IT'S A TRAGEDY AND A SIN...WHAT WE DID TO HIS CAREER
    KIM

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  63. Carra's first full season was in a back three of Matteo and Harkness (!) We played Robbie Jones as a wing-back but after Robbie went to West Ham 0r left-back, can't remember which, he moved to right-back.

    Carra was awesome there and didn't get back to centre-back for years afterwards on a regular basis. Shocking management I reckon.

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  64. I dont' know if he'll be replaced, who can say what Kenny is thinking. But I do worry about his pace. Against Arsenal Nasri left him standing before running 40 or 50 yards and having a shot at Pepe.

    I'll be honest and thought he was awful but under Kenny he's been pretty much excellent. 

    What we see now is a player brimming with confidence and more likely to play a through ball for the attackers on a regular basis rather than sideways or backwards. He knows when its safe to do so and when not to. When he does play a through ball it tends to be accurate and along the ground rather than long and hopeful.

    He's not got Charlie Adam's range but he doesn't need to.

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  65. as far as I remember he does also play long diagonal balls, forward balls and if I am not mistaken, even this season he put in a beautiful through ball once. besides for the arsenal game it was him, raul and suarez who combined for our second goal

    So stop complaining about his attacking side and just look at how he is helping the team. For me, the most important players are the players at LFC. So stop worrying about players who are not there. Lucas is the whole package so is Suarez, downing, enrique, adam, reina, agger, carra, kelly, kuyt, and even henderson. Did you all see his superb goal for England in midweek??

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  66. Playing for Gremio he scored 8 goals in 75 matches which hardly indicates decisively an attacking midfielder.  I've not seen any statistics on assists from that time, but I'd love to see them.  Frankly I have seen no conclusive evidence that he had any more attacking capabilities than he displays at the moment.  
    Citing that these attacking players won the Golden Ball is a  horrible argument on your account, because on close inspection it has been won roughly 50/50 by attacking players and defending players. 

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  67. What a load of tosh this debate is. Lucas is fantastic at what he does. Carragher started out life as a striker, then moved to midfield, then right back and found his niche in life as a Liverpool central defender. Does that mean just because a player finds he is better at one role than another he has to leave the club.

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  68. What is even more tragic is that Paisley is thinking of moving power-house striker Ray Kennedy into a left sided midfielder. I mean, warra waste!! 

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  69. @@Jammie is it? Mate,i thing you brought into the hype surrounding some of our
    players when we've just aquired them..now the years.I remember diouf was going
    to be the next zindane along with cheyrou lol...it's what the gaffer at the time,says.
    To get the fans all excited about potential signing...

    At the end of the day,imo.lucas is where he should be playing.Doing a fine job to
    boot as well.It's your blog...the agenda seem to be negative,just when everything
    seemed to be going in one direction,UP.Maybe you should listen to the ''king''
    more closely...''our fans know whats best for the club.If we're all together we can
    ACHIEVE great things..like a top four finnish,but really privately the league..
    Game on!! mancs. 

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  70. I'm luving the irony of this particular post...a true fan has emerged.

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  71. Anyway all this ''box to box'' talk is meaningless...it just meant in the cold light of
    day.Is that he had/has a great engine...to get up and down the pitch.Parker a
    ''box to box player'' how many goals and assist does he get?

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  72. To the author of this blog...
    For what reason did you delete my post?It was fairly accurate with no profanity
    or dis respect...even if there are MANCS here!

    If this is how ''free speach'' works  here.I won't be coming here again.Kenny words
    ''Our fans knows whats best for this club,if we all work together and pull in the
    right direction.Then anything is possible''

    That did not need deleting...YNWA...unless you continue like you have been lmao. 

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  73. Right on the mark...and of course I mean Bacon (and not you Jaimie, who so rarely gets the right end of the stick). For all the Kakas and Romarios of the world there are also a lot of Rogerio's and Marecelinho's who win the Golden Ball and do nothing abroad (a good comparison would be Vampeta who was highly touted in Brazil but did nothing for inter). Lucas was heading down that road when we discovered where his true aptitudes lay. Having a defensive midfielder with some attacking vision can also certainly come in handy (as we saw with Lucas's pass which ended with the second goal against Arsenal).  Jaimie (sadly) is also wrong about him being thrust aside: Lucas is quickly becoming one of the top 5 DM's in Europe, he's young and his (non-Poulson-like) fluidity fits Liverpool - and KK's vision - down to the ground. He'll be here for a while...

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  74. The Great Ray Kennedy played centre forward and was joint top scorer for the Arsenal double winning Team, bouught by Bob Paisley and became one of the great centre mids in Liverpool history, once again you create a negative piece out of a positive 

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  75. I don't get your point. He was a box to box midfielder in Brazil because he is committed, has a great engine and reads the game well. However in the much faster Premiership his lack of pace or change of pace really tells and as such the game he played didn't translate. And he's no Iniesta neither so his footwork wasn't enough to cut it. But with significant tweaks to his game he as excelled as a holding midfielder. That's not a tragic loss, that's an incredible gain.

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  76. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYqKzNlxclw

    As you can see from this video, in Brazil he was primarily a rampaging physical midfielder not a 'creative midfielder in the mould of Diego or van Der Vaart. The problem Lucas had was that without a change of pace he couldn't transfer that style of play to the Premiership. So he adapted. It's a miracle what we did to his career.

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  77. Okay, does it really matter? Carragher was a prolific striker in his younger days and we all know what happened there. Is it tragic that he lost his goalscoring abilities? Well no, because he's won us alot of points by being excellent at his job. Lucas is among the very best at his job. Do I want a Alex Song-alike at defensive midfield? Not really. 

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  78. hi I completely disagree with you. In a player's career changing position is normal, it seems we have found his ideal role, and he's doing the job perfectly!

    He's what keeps the defense and midfield chained, and he would be the first player on my team sheet. Throughout last season he improved a lot and to me it was no wonder him being chosen as being the Player of the Year.

    It's a joy to watch his defensive displays. He's morphing into a player that has the attributes of Mascherano and Hamann altogether.


    Good times. YNWA Lucas!

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  79. Hahaha - Jamie, I missed your blog in the off-season! Always a controversy!  But I agree with your article.  It was clear Rafa was moulding Lucas into a Mascherano replacement, which always had me puzzled when people gave crap to Lucas. He was learning to do a job and doing it well, as an adequate replacement for Masch. But I would have loved to see him given free reign to develop into an attacking mid-fielder. Especially with Gerrard and co to learn from. Coulda been a superstar! Let no-one doubt Lucas' commitment to the Red shirt - I remember an interview early in his career when he stated he was ready to sweat blood for the team.  That made me an instant admirer. Hopefully he'll become a legend - King Kenny can get the best out of anyone.

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  80. Hi jaime, I'll be up front and I'll say that I'm a man utd fan who often reads your blog, not because I necessarily agree with a lot of it, but I find a lot of it interesting. But even more interesting than your articles is the reaction that they get. 

    Now this is a pretty straightforward article bemoaning that a player who had a reputation as a flair player developed into something much more defensive, and less exciting than promised. Though I remember tim vickery at the time describing him as a very english midfielder, dynamic and likes to get into the box, but runs around a lot.

    But Box to box midfielders are quite rare in brazil, and for all of the skill that people like neymar and ganso have, The overall quality isn't very high, the game is very stop start, and generally quite slow compared to the english game, so it's not surprising that he had to radically alter his game. 

    Now liverpool fans could be forgiven for feeling a bit let down, but since he wasn't exactly the world's most famous player, it's not surprising that people kind of misunderstood what kind of  a player he was. But it's the torrent of abuse that the article has caused. If you were a man utd blogger wondering where was the new ronaldinho, and who was this fat injured mess anderson  who was trudging around in midfield, then no-one would have batted an eyelid.

    But it's the tone of the criticism, not for anything that you've really said, but rather that you wrote an article even slightly critical of a decision a liverpool manager (Who wasn't hodgson) or of a player in the current squad. It's really bizarre. It's like you're a traitor for remotely suggesting that not every single decision made by every single liverpool manager was perfect of something.

    Imagine if you questioned the sanity of making a convicted woman beater, with booze problems, a serious injury, and only 37 premier league appearances behind him the ninth most expensive player in history? 

    It think that it is a phenomenon of the internet age where people can spend all their time reading things that they already know that they will agree with. It's the sort of thing that you see if you have a look at conservative american websites (to try and get some insight into 

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  81. i don't understand the point of the article, because lucas is a player who has been at the club for quite a few seasons, and has pretty much only been played as a deep lying midfielder. during his time at the club he has never shown anything that suggests he should be developed as a more attacking player. even in brazil he was never an attacking midfielder and he's always played deep for brazil too.
    so, he played for gremio till he was 20, then for liverpool. when exactly did he show this attacking ability and promise that has been subjugated? he scored FOUR goals for gremio. not exactly a huge return for an attacking prodigy. also, winning the bolo de ouro doesn't mean he was an attacking player, just he was among the best players. there's 11 different positions.

    please tell me what the derogatory comments were? i've genuinely no idea, whatever it was, no offence was intended. what was it?

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  82. oh and before anyone goes off at me for being a typical man utd fan obsessed with Liverpool, I will say that I am from ireland, (but my father was born within a mile of old trafford.)  and a substantial proportion of my friends are liverpool fans. But in Ireland on top of people a lot of people follow the teams where their relatives live. The three major centres for Irish immigration were north london, Manchester and Liverpool. So I spend a lot of time talking to my friends about liverpool. 

    I don't see them as something worth hating, but as a worthy type of opponent. That and a constant source of amusement. But I will always have a look on Liverpool's page on Newsnow.co.uk to see what they're up to now. 

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  83. But this is this is the thing Col. What we disagree about is the concerted agenda to cause and capitalise on division between fellow fans. Also every 'article' is a veiled attempt at provoking disharmony with RA a being the main agenda. He used to do it with Hicks and gillett but now even the biggest wind up merchant wouldn't elicit their name for support. Now that everyone's savvier to his game he tries to smuggle through anti-Benitez feeling in seemingly balanced inoccuous posts. But the fact is that unbalanced, goalpost shifting remains. For example describing a player who was seen as an atypical box to box midfielder in Brazil as a creative midfielder. Hence the underlining accusation is that Benitez took that out of his game and was a basic unexpansive manager. But if, as you put it, you state that he was actually a box to box midfielder in a slower league, the reason why he's a holding midfielder now actually makes sense. In order to make another veiled attack on Benitez he has once again shifted the goalposts and revised history. Without understanding the slight of hand and divisive agenda we all end up squabbling with each other and that is the order of the day here. I think that it is right that people point out the inconsistencies and agenda driven divisiveness often snuck into seemingly inoccuous articles.

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  84. Exactly!!! Paul Scholes started out as a striker for Utd until Fergie saw that he'd be better suited to centre midfield and therefore has always given him the licence to go forward. And Henry always played on the right wing until Wenger converted him into a striker!! 
    Lucas has become one of the best holding midfielders in Europe and probably one of out most consistant performers over the last few seasons (although it took us all a while to admit it,lol). Its such an important job and one that will allow Adam/Gerrard/Henderson to go forward when we attack!

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  85. Paul Scholes started out as a striker for Utd until Fergie saw that he'd be better suited to centre midfield and therefore has always given him the licence to go forward. And Henry always played on the right wing until Wenger converted him into a striker!! 
    Lucas has become one of the best holding midfielders in Europe and probably one of out most consistant performers over the last few seasons (although it took us all a while to admit it,lol). Its such an important job and one that will allow Adam/Gerrard/Henderson to go forward when we attack!

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  86. My problem is not at all with what he has said about Lucas' potential. It is the sub-agenda as Desmond has said. It's who he's laying the blame with. It's an article written with an underlying malice and if real fans of the club don't agree with undeserved criticism of a player OR manager then they will speak up. 
    Rafa may or may not be to blame for his lack of attacking qualities recently but he wasn't at the training ground, he wasn't working out Lucas' regimes and he doesn't know how box to box football translates to the physicality of the Prem.
    It is merely a justification for giving a face to his failures, it is enough to say it's a shame he isn't the player we signed without accusations being levelled at no-one in particular. 
    'Shame Anderson and Kleberly aren't the players they should have been and have been moulded into useless piles of crap, lacking the goal scoring prowess they are proven to be capable of. Shame THEY'VE stopped them playing, making them give away the ball all the time; not like we've seen them do on YOUTUBE so we know they're capable of more. If only THEY had treated them right they would't be so God awful.'

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  87. I'm from Liverpool. We know about the Irish. Way to throw out your Decorum with the cheeky dig at the end of your comment.

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  88. Hi Mark.  In your first comment, you started with 'pretty poor article'. You may think that, but it has nothing to do with anything.  Make your points by all means but please drop the negative commentary.  I don't take it personally; it's a matter of principle.  I promote civillised debate on this site, and that means discussing/arguing in a fair manner, without insults/derogatory comments.

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  89. Hi MoRed - Lucas's pass completion rate was 83% last season, which is pretty good. I agree with you re Lucas's character - he seems to be a nice, humble, hard-working guy, and in that respect he reminds me of players like Sami Hyypia.

    Despite his improvement, I still don't think there will be room for him in the team long-term.

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  90. If Lucas was only a box to box midfielder without any real creative instinct, why did Benitez say that he was looking forward to Lucas scoring goals for Liverpool?  My point is that Lucas had a lot of creative potential; once at Liverpool, the club could've develped his creative side, but instead, the defensive side took precedence,

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  91. I didn't say he was a flair player so perhaps it's you who isn't getting it.  Let me spell it out one more time:




    1. Lucas had a creative role in the Gremio team.  He was most definitely not a defensive midfielder.
    2. He was brought to LFC as an attacking midfielder, and Benitez's comments at the time prove this.

    3. The creative side of his game could've been developed.  It wasn't.

    4. Benitez, and later Hodgson, decided to use him as a defensive midfielder, and over the last 3 years, his creative growth has been stunted.

    5. My overall point is simply that it's sad to see a Brazilian attacking player turned into a defensive mid doing all the donkey work.

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  92. heh, come on... I was being very restrained.

    I don't understand why people are still fighting the rafa benitez wars. Rafa benitez did a lot of things right, but made an awful lot of terrible mistakes, and after a great start, left behind a truly dreadful mess. (No-one made him sign milan jovanovich)  He was by in large very bad at buying players, and while he did a decent job of making them into competitive teams, and had one excellent season, he couldn't build a really good squad.

    I had always wondered about him, but I nearly pissed myself laughing when liverpool bought robbie Keane. Firstly having watched him playing for Ireland for Years, it was clear that he was nowhere near good enough to be the player that liverpool wanted him to be. But it turns out that liverpool wanted him to be and entirely different type of player. 

    When rafa gave a press conference on his arrival he said that keane was signed to link defence to attack, and he could also play on the right. I nearly died laughing. it seemed as though no-one at anfield had been able to spot that keane was a deceptively slow, lazy, selfish. and tactically clueless player, with unreliable technique and a real difficulty in imposing himself on games. other than that he was grand, if you plan on being martin jol's spurs. 

    But the most bizarre thing I ever heard about RFK was an interview that ian rush gave to irish radio, where he described robbie keane as an intelligent link player, a  cross between peter beardsley and kenny dalglish. 

    But there's no reason to think that liverpool really knew what lucas was really like, but unlike keane, he was able to reinvent himself. but god love us it was tough to watch.

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  93. Hi Colm - thanks for your comments.  Man United fans are welcome here, as are fans from any other team. 

    In my experience, Liverpool fans suffer from groupthink and mob mentality more than the fans of any other top-flight team.  Managers are elevated to the status of untouchable messiah or malignant pariah - there's no middle ground - and if you show support for the latter or criticise the former then you get it in the neck.

    Fans who come to this site and slag me off are upset because the things I say do not conform to their expectations of what a fan should be.  They want me to agree with them, and post stuff that reinforces their beliefs, and if they don't get that, they go on the attack.

    Such is life, I guess.  Everything I write is a genuine reflection of what I actually believe; I never write stuff just to get a reaction, this is actually what I think (!), and if people don't like that, then there are plenty of LFC sites out there that will conform to their expectations.

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  94. Jaimie,
    Do you want to be TOTALLY accurate and show the entire quote from Benitez when Lucas signed...

    "He can play as a holding midfielder but he can also get from box to box and so I am looking forward to seeing him score goals for Liverpool in the future."

    So the very first thing Rafa speaks about is the HOLDING ROLE

    I guess you had seen Lucas play plenty of games for Gremio before he arrived to judge exactly what sort of player he was!!
    Otherwise I would think you were making sweeping generalisations based on what's written on his Wikipedia page.

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  95. No he had a rampaging role at Gremio. He would have had that role at Liverpool if he could keep up with the pace of the Premiership. But he couldn't. So he didn't. It's quite simple. Trying to revise history and change him into some kind of unrealised Socrates figure is a falsehood and unfairly skews the argument in your favour. Just watch the YouTube footage of him playing for Gremio. Very little of that shows a creative attacking midfielder rather an energetic, direct and hard running player. Now as I and many others have said, that style without a change of pace, may work in Brazil, but it won't work in the Premiership. You generalise and mislead with terms like 'creative and mention the fact that he's Brazilian as if that automatically denotes samba football. But if you look for a second beyond those misleading or false descriptions you'll see a generally undynamic player who is better suited for a holding midfield role than the rampaging midfielder he was bought as. A bad buy turned around by brilliant coaching.

    Also, as someone who has an appreciation of defensive work, the reading of the game and fast incisive midfield play, Lucas work cannot possibly be seen by any self respecting football fan as donkey work.

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  96. PS: Benitez said he would score goals not create them. I and others have already explained that we believe him to have been a box to box midfielder very much in the English mould, albeit one paced.

    It appears to me that this whole article is written off the back of a sentence from Rafa Benitez (a manager who's opinion you denigrate ad nauseum) and the fact that Lucas holds a Brazilian passport. For a man who prides himself on providing accurate, substantiated and well researched pieces on Liverpool FC this article and your subsequent responses seem rather thin.

    Others have provided assessments of his attributes, examples of his lack of pace and videos of his rampaging box to box style at Gremio. They've argued why they believe that style could not be translated from the Brazilian league to the Premiership via Lucas.

    Your argument appears to be on the lines of "well Rafa said he'll score goals, and he's Brazilian so he must be creative, therefore Rafa clearly stifled his genius before he could set the Premiership alight with his impudent pirouettes and flicks".

    I think you're losing.

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  97. Dear Jaimie..  can you please give us a stat that show Lucas Leiva is a very promising Attacking Midfield player?? what is this tragic loss of Lucas Leiva really?? I mean right now he is the 1st choice in starting 11 for BRAZILLIAN TEAM.. what more do any player can really wish for except for being the automatic choice for his national team.. i do think Lucas Leiva feel in a very different way than you do.. for him it's ABSOLUTE BLESS IN DISGUISE to be a defensive midfielder at LFC..

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  98. saying it was a poor article isn't slagging you off, it's 'critical realism'. in my opinion the article is poor because it doesn't have any real facts about why lucas had all this ability to be a top, creative attacking played, but is now a tragic loss because he's been subjugated to be just a water carrier. it's not a personal insult of you, it's just about the article.

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  99. winning the bola de ouro does not mean he was an attacking midfielder!! that is totally irrelevant.

    it is not beyond despute that he was an attacking player for gremio.

    please back this up with any facts.

    i can't find many stats about his tenure in brazil, but it appears he only ever scored four goals.  can you find anything different that suggests otherwise?

    credit where credit is due to rafa benitez for signing him and moulding him into one of the top players in europe in his position when most reds would have sold him.

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  100. it's called keeping possession. not every ball should be going forward. lucas will generally go for the right ball, and if that means the right ball is a 5 yard sideways pass, he'll go for it. it's not a playstation game.

    winning a tackle is the first move in an attacking play.

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  101. because he was a new signing and it was just something to say. at no point did benitez indicate bags of goals and lots of skillful attacking brazillian play was about to arrive.


    "He can play as a holding midfielder but he can also play box to
    box and score goals," said Benítez. "He's won the golden boot in Brazil
    last season and he will feature in the Under-20 world championships, so
    he's a fantastic midfielder, a complete player and will be good for our
    present and our future."

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  102. re: benitez' comments at the time -

    mentions being a holding player and a box to box player. mentions nothing about being an attacking midfielder.

     "He can play as a holding midfielder but he can also play box to
    box and score goals," said Benítez. "He's won the golden boot in Brazil
    last season and he will feature in the Under-20 world championships, so
    he's a fantastic midfielder, a complete player and will be good for our
    present and our future.
     

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  103. What are you suggesting that I 'get over' exactly? :-s

    For me Yaya Toure (who I wanted us to upgrade with over Mascherano) stands out head and shoulders above the rest of the Premierships currently (literally as well as figuratively!) as the lone player that could be compared to the likes of Vieira and Keane. For me, the likes of Song, Tiote, De Jong, Essien, Fletcher and even Sandro are at least as good, if not better than Lucas. Most of those players are interchangeable however and could be swapped around with little to no difference to the team.

    I don't worry about other team's players - I worry about the failings of our players, and the way in which our own fans, like yourself, delude yourselves into arguing how our players are the best around even while the team continues to flop.

    Btw, as I've said elsewhere, look at the other players that lead in this tackling stat and you'll soon see just how important it is to the elite teams. And look at the corresponding 'tackles lost' stat also if you do want to insist that the stat is so important after all...

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  104. You deserve a slap in the face for what? Just because he has come good now, that doesn't mean that anybody that the previous criticisms of his performances- while we were being dragged down into midtable - weren't warranted!

    I'd argue that it wasn't worth us weakening the team so much in the past to develop Lucas into the player that we have now, but nevertheless, well done to him for blossoming into a good defensive midfielder now. Hopefully he continues to improve and assert himself on the team throughout the season - we have no other natural defensive midfielders in the senior team now, so are dependent on him controlling the midfield week in-week out

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  105. You deserve a slap in the face for what? Just because he has come good now, that doesn't mean that anybody that the previous criticisms of his performances- while we were being dragged down into midtable - weren't warranted!I'd argue that it wasn't worth us weakening the team so much in the past to develop Lucas into the player that we have now, but nevertheless, well done to him for blossoming into a good defensive midfielder now. Hopefully he continues to improve and assert himself on the team throughout the season - we have no other natural defensive midfielders in the senior team now, so are dependent on him controlling the midfield week in-week out

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  106. Jaimie any debate loses its *civility* when one party operates a dictatorship like approach to that said *debate*, which is what you frequently tend to do.

    Wherever Mark added 'pretty poor article' his overall statement quite clearly backed it up, to edit it out just shows the pathetic streak you that is pervasive across your blog.

    Its like you feel you have some form of entitlement over peoples opinions, and more pertinently their opinions of you.

    why don't you have the balls to allow you work to stand the judgement of Liverpool fans, rather than deleting their thoughts?

    That is what debate is afterall.

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  107. I'm not interested in your opinion of whether the article is 'poor' or not; I'm interested in your views/counter-arguments against it.  If you debate face to face with people, you don't - unless you're a terrible debator - preface every remark with 'that's pretty poor'; you let your reasoning and intelligence answer the point.

    Derogatory comments of any kind are banned on this site, and if you or anyone else doesn't like this, and is not capable of mounting an argument without recourse to insults, then please go elsewhere.

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  108. I'm not interested in whether a derogatory comment is backed up or not - such comments are banned, end of story. It's simple: Make your point fairly and without derogatory comments and your post will stay on the site.  Resort to lowest common denominator tactics and your post will be removed.  If people don't like that, touch luck - there are dozens of other forums that cater to the slanging match mentality.

    And your comments about entitlement are just nonsense, and illustrate that you just have no idea what this site is all about.  Thousands of people disagree vociferously with me on a weekly basis - why do their comments stay up?  They do so in the right manner.

    I don't 'delete the thoughts' of Liverpool fans - I delete comments that contain insults and derogatory comments (against me, the site, other writers and other posters) - That's the way it is and that is the way it is going to stay, and if you or anyone else doesn't like it then there's nothing I can do.  If that makes this a dictatorship (!) then so be it.

    I'm not going to allow this site to go the way of most other football forums, i.e. descending into slanging matches etc. End of story.

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  109. You've almost answered your own question. Benitez said he would score goals not create them. What we would like to know is:

    1) Where did you get the idea that Lucas was a creative midfielder other than a player of the year award, the fact that he's Brazilian and a sentence from Rafa stating that he expected goals from Lucas?
    2) Do you understand the difference between what is commonly refered to as a creative midfielder (Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Diego, Iniesta) and a box to box midfielder (Viera, Keane, Yaya Toure, Seydou Keita)?
    3) Do you think that with Lucas' lack of pace he could have developed into a top class Premiership box to box midfielder?
    4) Do you think that with Lucas' lack of intricate skill, vision or technique he could have developed into a top class Premiership 'creative' midfielder?

    I'll wait.

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  110. 1. Lucas was most definitely *not* a defensive midfielder at Gremio.  Before he arrived at LFC he was being groomed as an attacking midfielder, not a Dunga-style holding player.

    2. Don't patronise me.  Brazilian midfielders generally have a reputation for being being more attack-minded (and this has been proven throughout history). Lucas may have had the attributes of a 'box-to-box midfielder' at the age of 20, but at that point, his career trajectory was not set in stone.  With more development/focus on the creative side of his game' it's conceivable that he may have gone a different way.

    3. Pace is not the central requirement of a b2b midfielder - Keane and Veira don't have blistering pace.  In any event, I haven't argued that Lucas should be b2b mid - I've argued that he could perhaps have been developed into a creative, attacking mid, i.e. someone who plays higher up the pitch and specialises in moving the ball around the final third; dictating the pace of play, and coming up with defence splitting passes/creating goals.  I definitely think if he had been groomed into this role from day one he's be there are thereabouts by now.

    4. Lucas's supposed 'lack of intricate skill, vision or technique' is a subjective judgment on your part, and it's not even true (IMO).  He hasn't had the chance to develop these attributes in the last 3 years - he's been too busy sliding around in the mud and doing donkey work.  Technique and skill are not the main requirements of a DM - as I stated above, if he had been groomed to be an attacking mid then his skill levels/technique etc would've improved accordingly.

    Lucas is a dull blade; he has no edge anymore, and he never will have because he's been turned into a defensive mid.

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  111. I didn't ask whether he was a defensive midfielder. I asked where you got the idea that he was a creative midfielder because from comments from Brazilians football experts, the man who bought him or footage that I have seen 'creative' was never a quality levelled at him. All you seem to have is he was more attack minded and is Brazilian. That does not equate to 'creative'. He has had moments but so has Kevin Nolan. Where did you get the idea that he was a creative midfielder whose reversion to holding midfielder was a tragic loss for football?

    So you admit that at 20 his career trajectory was not set in stone. So what magic are you basing this tragic loss on? Does he have a reservoir of pace or skill or guile that we have all missed? You wrote the article, can't you explain it more than "he's Brazilian and they tend to be creative".

    You now admit that he was a box to box midfielder when Rafa bought albeit with no real change of pace or acceleration. Or do you dispute this? Do you really think it is possible to turn a 20 year old Kevin Nolan into a 24 year old Fabregas? Are you serious? That we could have just developed that in the midst of Premiership and Champions League campaign. Instead of Steven Gerrard??!!?

    I'll admit that a change of pace rather than pace alone is important for an attacking midfielder. Do you seriously believe that Lucas ever showed the potential of this change of pace or incisive intricate vision necessary to compete in the final third for a top 4 Premiership side? Read Van der Vaart, Scholes, Lampard, Fabregas, Nasri, Silva, Mata. These are nippy, quick thinking, quick touch, creative footballers. They play football at an incredible speed and their main attributes are they're ability to change the pace and direction of the game via quick movement and a change in gears. You saw Lucas when he first arrived. Did you see anything in his play that suggested that this was a role he was adept at?

    Here's the truth. Lucas was always a dull blade at Premiership. He wasn't exactly a samurai sword at Gremio neither. He was a box to box player that you believe should have been turned into some kind of Nasri-esque figure. I state that that kind of transformation is impossible in top class football. Those kind of players aren't described as being 'instinctive' for nothing. You don't learnt how to become that player at 20 and in the first team of one of Europe's premier clubs. It just doesn't happen. Ever. A pipe dream not a tragic loss at all.

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  112. Seriously your idea is akin to turning Mark Noble into Paul Gascoigne with a bit of extra training. It's a bizarre suggestion based on
    incredibly scant justification. Do you even have any stats from his Gremio career that would support your assertions that he was a top class creative midfielder in the making?

    It's truly a God send that he was converted into a defensive midfielder and if anything Hodgson deserves more credit than Rafa because he really ensured that Lucas was kept busy in his newly accustomed role.

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  113. Hey, Mr.Jamie Kanwar, I noticed something - hypocrisy ........ derogatory comments about you are deleted ........ but what about the insult Lucas has tolerated in some of these posts ....... you name your article "tragic loss" - while you are just concerned about getting people wound up so that they post on your site to make you a living ........... nice job, you have absolutely no empathy for Lucas and you are by no means a real fan ....... 

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  114. I'm not going to touch the Rafa Benitez debate here as it's been done to death and I'm generally looking to the future. All I would say is that for every con there's a pro and vice versa. Most have agreed to disagree, however Janie appears to purposely mine and mine for more division knowing that Rafa evokes strong sentiment for many liverpool fans. Hence an anti-hero is created will division amongst LFC brothers is instigated. Fair enough, it's the kind of journalism that Fox News is world infamous for. See Glenn Beck. However if he is going to do that and mislead fans to do so many of us will call him out on it. To equate Lucas with creative midfielders like Iniesta, Van der vaart, Sneijder or Nasri in order to flog a dead and buried divisive argument is mischievous at best and rampant trolling at worst. I for one am sick and tired of chancers using the passion elicited by this club as a platform for their media careers or internet infamy. And if we are taking one of the outstanding legacies of rafa's tenure and twisting it by use of mislabelling and misdirection into a 'tragic loss' then we have to say enough's enough.

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  115. You and bacon are the firsts posts on here that got it right. Lucas does not have the touch, skill, or finishing to be an effective attacking player, and he used to drive me crazy. However, over time he has turned into pure class in a holding role. Every side in Europe would love to have Lucas in the squad. He does all the work that has to be done so that everyone else can play. He is a very effective tackler who can do it while staying on his feet, and then he is so comfortable in possession that he starts everything off and keeps it for us. For all the doubters out there, count the number of tackles he makes next game (most in premiere league) and the number of times he gives the ball away (almost never).

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  116. jaimie kanwar you delete all the negative post but gerneally you this is a rubbish report of a person who has come into his own and commands the position better than anyone else recently, kudos to that and  i look forward to seeing him play through the season. maybe not the original box to box player but how many players have changed position for the good of there career.

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  117. Hey Jamie, fancy coming up with some facts that suggest Lucas was a promising attacking midfielder before he was subjugated by Benitez?

    Is there ANY facts at all to back this up?

    I've just given you a fact that suggests otherwise (the Benitez quote when he was signed), as well as his poor goal return from his career, even in Brazil.

    take it away..........

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  118. Toure is top class but he is 28 as is Essien. De Jong is 26. Tiote, Sandro and Fletcher are no way near as good as Lucas who is only 24. Song is the only player who is younger who I rate more highly than Lucas. 

    This season Lucas will improve because, as this article is about, Lucas was a more attacking player and has made the switch, unlike other players and so he is still learning his trade unlike others who have played the same position for many years.

    I have no idea how the team is continuing to flop and if you think so, watch a game, watch MOTD, look at the league table and actually become a fan because that is the silliest thing I have every heard. 

    So what if he is top of tackles lost? He also put in the most tackles in the Prem last season in 33 games so I don't have a problem if he loses some.. Even if he doesn't come out of it with the ball he still holds up play which is what he's supposed to do..

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  119. What's with the editing, Jamie? I thought this was a site for open debate? Oh wait, you just edit our posts to your liking. Man up and admit you're wrong you prick. 

    There's some critical realism for you.

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  120. Jaimie, you keep saying that had the first team staff during Benitez's time nurtured Lucas, he would of developed into a great creative midfielder. When he was signed, Rafa said that he would score a lot of goals. Within 5 appearances it was evident this wasn't going to happen. If we had not played him and kept him with the reserves and developed his apparent genetic creativeness, he would've eventually become unsettled and would've requested a move away from Anfield. And then you would be talking about how we lost a great defensive talent. He was never good enough to become a decent playmaker and the fact that Hodgson and Rafa were able to convert him to a world-class defensive midfielder is remarkable. 

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  121. What creative instinct?? He was a truly rubbish player when he arrived and if you won't admit that then I don't think you've been watching the same games as we have. He was a bad attacking mid and now he's a world class defensive mid. Instead of bemoaning the coaches, you should be singing their praises because Lucas would have been a waste of money

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  122. Uhm ... the superstar DM doesn't exist. Lucas is on his way to be one, and is already well on level with the likes of A. Song, de Jong, Mikel etc. At the end of this season he will be top five in the world. Why would anyone want to replace him?

    Obviously, a lot of people haven't seen a Liverpool game the past two years ... Lucas is a key player now, with Gerrard and Reina (and eventually Suarez). He is without doubt one of the best DMs in the Premier League, soon the world.

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  123. Lucas' attacking instincts weren't curbed when he came at Liverpool. 

    If anyone has seen him play in a more attacking role , he tends to stop-see-wait-and then pass to a free player.An attacking player on the other hand , would be quick to pass and move.
    His shots though powerful ,aren't accurate(as against an AM who's accurate as well as his shots powerful)
    Even GARETH BALE isn't a natural WINGER. He transformed himself into a winger . 
    It is not that Lucas doesn't go forward, he does , but only when he knows he has a chance to create something or has a shooting chance. 
    And if and when a new DM comes to anfield , we know he isn't going to replace Lucas, because LUCAS has already established himself as a top-class DM. 
    He is our Claude Makelele. 

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  124. Desmond, thanks for being brave enough to take on the mighty all knowing Jaimie. Even though his (apparent) soccer knowledge is unparalleled, it's good to see someone putting him in his place. 

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  125. thats hYPOTHETICAL SURELY. surely the most important thing is that lucas is one of the best at what he is asked to do and that ultimately is best fOR LFC.

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  126. A thought provoking article. Otherwise, the response wouldn't be so good. Lucas can hone his goal scoring skills every now and then when the opportunity arises. If a defender like Agger can take the ball from the Liverpool half of the field to the opponent side and score, there's nothing to stop Lucas from doing so.

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  127. That's not very fair - he won't be sold on for a 'bigger name' or a 'better' defensive midfielder whatsoever - ab. nonsense. He is one of the first names on the teamsheet - and in my opinion is quite a 'cute' player whereby he'll pick up a booking pretty much every game - but seldom cross the line and get sent off - that's a  disciplined player considering the position he is playing where he has to put his 'foot in' - unlike 'Mad Masch' who for all his brilliance could always be trusted to keep his temper in check and got involved in everything no matter how minor.

    I appreciate that his attacking instincts may have been subjegated as you state - but this is football not art. Despite what his talents may or not be going forward - am sure he won't trouble the likes of Gerrard or Adam.

    And on the same tangent the same could be said of Dirk Kuyt he was brought as a striker and has been playing right midfield for several seasons - and it hasn't done his career any harm. It's all about the greater good of the team.

    Footabll is a short career - to the public defensive midfielders maybe aren't  spectacular and  don't grab the headlines but am sure his manager appreciates his efforts thats for sure - otherwise he wouldn't be playing him - and am quite sure Lucas or indeed the likes of a Makelele who played in the same position wont be lookign back on their careers as 'Unspectacular' as you put it.

    I think more thought needs to be taken when writing an article and it's very churlish to suggest he will be sold - have you actually been watching the games?? I just don't understand where on earth you would come up with that idea!

    Ash

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  128. How on earth can you knock Lucas?!

    He has proved the critics wrong. You can't just go spank 20 odd million on defenisve midfielder like city do - that's not the answer there's not an endless pot of money at LFC. He's more than good enough for LFC - and to be quite frank I only rate Toure/Essien above him (think Tiote is on par with him).

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