24 Nov 2011

Liverpool legend JOHN BARNES blasts: "It's not his fault..."

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has polarised opinion ever since he arrived at Anfield, and he's often been on the receiving end of unwarranted criticism. One of the recurring criticisms levelled at the Brazilian is his lack of attacking impact in the final third of field, but club legend John Barnes insists that he should not be judged along those lines.

Barnes, who played in central midfield himself during the final few years of his Liverpool career, observed:

"If you're going to criticise Liverpool for not playing attractive football, don't look to Lucas to give you that. Lucas is there as holding midfield player - look to complement him with more attractive players who are going to do that.

"When they were criticising Lucas, Liverpool weren't playing a particularly attractive style of football. If they're not playing attractive football, it's not Lucas's fault. It's the fault of the other players who are supposed to be playing attractive football".

Lucas's passing accuracy, ball retention and tackling ability have clearly improved over the last couple of years but Barnes believes he's still playing the same way he's always played for Liverpool:

"I don't necessarily think he's doing much better than he did in the past; I always thought he did a good job, in front of the back four: get it; give it; play simple football.

Barnes also highlighted the fickleness of fans and pundits over their views on Lucas:

"Because Liverpool didn't have the players then to play in an attacking style, they said Lucas is not good enough. Now we have more attacking players, he's suddenly being revered.

"I've always been a fan of Lucas, and now a lot of people are jumping on the Lucas bandwagon, including ex team-mates of mine! A lot of people have to eat humble pie".

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. John Barnes Blasts .............. hardly a blast, he is just giving his opinion on a football matter concerning the team. He is IMO correct. Lucas has become one of the finest "spoilers" playing in the Premier League. He does a fantastic job holding in midfield and sitting in front of the back four getting a foot in, an interception jus breaking down opposition play. He does what is asked of him...........nice lad too met him recently in a restaurant in Liverpool loves the city and its people

  2. If you heard Barnes speak the words then you would have a different view.  He was definitely a little irritated.

  3. Xabier Olano Alonso3:48 pm, November 24, 2011

    He is the worst player in the history of football. Tackling is not an art or skill, it is a something you 'resort' to if you can't play football. Judging him on the defensive aspect of football, he is a liability, his intelligence and positioning is awful and he does not track back. Countless times he lets opposition players have a free run towards the defenders in the middle and lucas will be running away from them. He slows us down and can't contribute anything beyond the half way line, worst passing range ever. In the modern game even defensive midfielders need to be able to distribute the ball well and take defence off the pressure. Busquets, Mascherano, Yann M'Vila all have that unlike lucas. the sooner Liverpool sell him the sooner they can rise up again to be a force in Europe.

  4. Absolute hogwash. Lucas is a superb holding midfielder but in terms of popular opinion is still struggling to recover from being thrown into the first-team way before he was ready. His early performances were mostly horrendous but by jimminy he has eveolved into a fabulous player. And if he's the worst player in the history of football you should tell that to Benitez, Daglish, Mano Menezes and Dunga

  5. Jaimie, John Barnes sounds a little irritated everytime he opens his mouth. You should hear him talk to his kids when he is shopping in his local tescos !.
    Point is your headline is sensationalist even if I do agree with its content.

  6. And if you don't think that tackling is an art or even a skill then you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about football

  7. Lucas has become an accomplished midfielder for us and has shown real mental strength in the face of ridiculous levels of criticism throughout his tenure at Liverpool.

    I think his technical ability is really starting to show through now and I believe he does the job he has been given in the team as well, if not better than any other player we have. I have more faith in him than all the other midfielders KD has spent tens of millions on.

  8. Then Xabi Alonso must know nothing about football. He recently stated that Tackling is not a skill, and it's only a last resort when you can't keep hold of the ball.

  9. Hahahaha. Xabier Olano Alonso, have a word with yourself mate.

    Let's be honest, Lucas started poorly. When he was thrust into the team, at one point ahead of Alonso for a few games, it was bordering the ridiculous. Barnes raises a good point - our attacking midfield players weren't cutting it, which left Lucas to do that job which in turn served to highlight his limited ability going forward. Lucas is doing well now because he is asked to do what a defensive midfielder is asked to do: break up play, pass is simple.

    Another difficulty we faced was that Lucas, for a time, played with Mascherano - an absolute beast of a defensive midfielder and one of the world's best. Naturally, this led to comparisons. Finally though, Lucas is maturing into a player in his own right.

  10. What a dope. Who are these clowns?

    Tackling is not what you resort to 'if you can't play football'. You 'resort' to tackling when you don't have the ball.... that's the object you need to have in your possession to play football with... if I'm not mistaken! Using your logic Barcelona don't tackle or can't they play football either?

    If you are going to criticize anyone on tackling, passing and tracking back I suggest you turn your attention to a certain Scottish midfielder who KD signed.

    You quote Busquets and Mascherano I suppose they don't tackle either???!!!

  11. I have been watching this game since '82 WC & it 'll one of the funniest comment, if someone ever could point out a "Brazilian International" for the reason of not playing attractive football; that too in English game.  Actually, I would have lost all my respect to Barnes, had he said anything otherwise. 

    LFC is not playing attractive game because of building the team around '70s & '80s "sky hoof" English game.  With forwards as quick as Carroll, wide players as skillful as Henderson & Downing & midfielders as creative as Adam KD has made LFC a single dimensional English team. 

    We won at Emirates & Stamford Bridge because the opponent tried to win the game & left open space.  How attractive or creative we are is actually evident in home games against bottom half teams, when they play the similar game.  & a team build with the philosophy of having a Basketball like Centre Forward & wingers/midfielders trying to float the long ball can't be attractive.

    Arsenal might not have won anything in 6 years, but any day I would love to see them play, just like the hay days of Rafa's LFC.  I don't get any fun watching the LFC now & we are definitely not going to play outside UK (Thanks to Swansea, otherwise England) next years as well, unless in January we collect players on the merit of their creativity, rather than passport   

  12. Xabier Olano Alonso4:50 pm, November 24, 2011

    Go listen to Graeme Souness comments during the post chelsea analysis, when him and redknapp were talking about Mikel literally everything they said applied to lucas, yet too many people are deluded enough to confuse mediocrity for world class these days. Lucas was not good enough for Liverpool when we signed him, he still isn't good enough. he plays exactly the same was as he did all those years ago except now you don't have a reference point like mascherano to compare him to, instead last season you had poulsen so obviously he will appear to be 'better'. Liverpool can do a lot better than lucas and deserve a lot better, as long as he plays for LFC he will be holding them back.

  13. lucas = first chioce for brazil midfield. hopefully lucas does not turn around and wonder why he is playing for liverpool and leave!!!

  14. hahah so true...Jamie likes them headlines

  15. Xabier Olano Alonso4:52 pm, November 24, 2011

    Of course barcelano tackle but the key difference is that tackling is not the only thing busquets and mascherano have to offer

  16. "get it; give it; play simple football."--
    And after all we demand from our players is this, we're surprised we don't have enough of them capable of challenging for the title.

  17. its no wonder your out of work digger well as good as out of work

  18. worst brazil team in living memory

  19. It is fair enough to point out that you prefer to wwatch free flowing attacking football over our current team, but it is quite another then to point to Rafa's Liverpool team and call it attacking. For the record, I am great fan of Rafa. But his football was rarely free flowing, in the Spanish/Barca/Brazil sense. We moved as a unit and each department of the team operated very well, and very efficiently, which produced goals. But that isn't free flowing attacking football...we were highly functional, as evidenced by the fact that as soon as we lost Alonso, a key compenent of the machine, the rest broke down. And boy did it breakdown.

    Back to the point, Lucas will always be limited. He is not great and never will be. But for what he does, he does it well. To make broad sweeping comments like "for as long as he's in our team we'll be held back" as someone has said misses the point entirely. Our wing play, wasteful finishing, tactic when we play Carroll etc have been the principle causes for the points we have lost this season. Not Lucas - his job isn't any of those things. Perhaps in the future when we hope to challenge for honours, replacing Lucas will be necessary, but that time is not now. 

  20. @alonso, i think your abit harsh on lucas, i wasn a fan of lucas for a long time but for the last 2 seasons i taught  he was brilliant ,he does what he suppose to do breaks up play and helps the back 4 very well,   his stats say he s 1 of the best (dm) in the prem..

  21. I feel sorry for Lucas, does so much but is not given any praise from people, not fans, people who think they understand football (not their fault, just cant follow the game with a tactical eye)

    He is no Fernando Redondo and never will be, but he does a brilliant and consistent job for us.

    KD took over this year, two transfer windows later and Lucas is still in the starting eleven, shall I tell you why?

    "...every team needs its water carriers..."  quote from the great Didier Deschamps

  22. I have stated many times before that Lucas has improved as a player but have also said that this is as good as he is going to get.

    Alonso was just the most complete DM that the EPL has ever seen, great tackler, got forward, created goals, dictated the play, scored some too and probably still is one of the best passers of a ball in the world. He was our ENGINE and I am afraid to say that Lucas (although he has improved) will never be able to live up to that footballing standard.

    If we had a Scott Parker to challenge Lucas for his position, would Lucas be guaranteed a place in the starting eleven all the time? How many first team DM does Liverpool have in their squad?

  23. You fell sorry for Lucas?

    Carroll and Henderson?... who are at a young age just like Lucas was when he joined. 

    The biggest problem with our fans is that we demand instant success and forget that we are rebuilding now after years of falling behind the other top clubs and preparing for the future. Lucas still has a long career ahead of him at LFC which brings me to the part where Carroll and Henderson do too as they were not bought to provide instant success at the ages of 21 and 22 no matter how much they cost. I doubt Mr Henry signed such large cheques and thought that he would get a return on his investment withing a space of one season...

  24. You have a point... Regarding Henderson, I think he may develop into a decent central midfield player over the next few years, but dont share the same enthusiasm for Carroll. Yes he is young and we should wait untill May but there is a feeling he is not right for this team and style of play ( I do not blame him but he needs to integrate into the style and players around him better)

  25. You haven't got a clue.

  26. That's just bravado. Of course it's a skill. What the hell else is it? A failing?

  27. But did we not have to play to the Torres's strenghts in order for him to have scored as many as he did?

    Carroll is a great young talent, if we can supply him with the ball just as we supplied Torres with the ball over the years then Carroll will without a doubt put the ball into the back of the net.

  28.  well said you hit the nail on the head and i hate to say it but man city will tear us apart on sunday alot of money spent on mediocre players when we could have bought class for less

  29. u aint gota clue mate.hes up there wiv the best now at what he does, thats y he in brazil team. plays well in every big game

  30. rubbish article - just a copy and paste of someone elses comments - whats the point?

  31. I think there has been some confusion regarding Alonso's comments.
    He was referring to a general team philosophy rather than an absolute individual trait.

    That philosophy is based on the assumption that by 'pressing' the opposition into a mistake the ball can be won back without a tackle being made.
    This then becomes an effective team wide tactic because it doesn't require the bulk of the team to be skillful tacklers.
    What is required though, is fitness and willing runners to press.

    When at Liverpool, Alonso, himself an excellent tackler, was partnered with Mascherano, an absolute tackling machine.
    Go ask Alonso if that was wrong...

    What Alonso didn't elaborate on, was that certain positions do require good tacklers.
    Those being the central defenders and the defensive midfielder.

    Look at the Swansea game.
    There were long periods during that game we were unable to 'press' and win the ball back.
    The onus then fell on the CB's and DM to break up the attacks when they ventured into dangerous positions around our box.

    For mine Lucas has done great so far.
    The good thing for us, he's still improving and becoming more confident in his roll.
    Right now, he's undroppable.
    He's also looking a strong candidate for future LFC captain.

  32. And future Brazil captain...

  33. Could not agree more with you...He just keeps tackling throughout a match and knows nothing else. I think it is just a way of making up for his huge and numerous shortcomings in other aspects of his game. He should be sold ASAP.

  34. Anyone knows where ashfah is?

  35. If we had a Scott Parker to challenge Lucas for his position, would Lucas be guaranteed a place in the starting eleven all the time? 
    So if we had this player or that player? does this only apply to Lucas or the players you don't like cos Rafa signed them??

    ..if we had Alex Chamberlin anywhere near the Liverpool team..would Henderson be allowed anywhere near the team.

    ..if we had Jack wiltshire or Ramsey would Adam..Charlie get anywhere near the team...

    If we had Cahill would Carra get into the team.

    If we had sturridge ..bent ..van persie ..would Carroll be considered.

    If you are going to compare players then compare their price tag too...ngog cost half a million and Carroll 35million how can you compare the two..but guess what ngog has scored 1goal too this season..so him and Carroll are neck and neck

  36. Of course it's a skill. If it wasn't no one player would be any better at it than any other

  37. Barnes is a fan of Lucas, no doubt about it. Time will tell if he succeeds.

  38. WOW!!!! I can't believe that you'r said that 1. Lucas doesn't track back, and even worse 2 that tackling isn't a skill and is something you resort to when you can't play football!!!! Mental. I play centre back an centre mid an to take the ball from someone when bearing down on goal, cleanly, an then run off with the ball is a hell of a skill. The timing, the positioning of your feet, everything. A tackle can win a game, a bad one can ensure you lose one. How you've came upon that opinion is beyond me. Have you ever played football? I'm proper flabbergasted.