COS Contributor Thomas Maher considers whether Lucas is suffering from a bad reputation or is he just not good enough?
Is Lucas as good as he is gonna get? Is he a poor man`s Mascherano?
Lucas will never be anything like mascherano. He is naturally a far more attack minded player than we have seen under Benitez. I think the right hand side of a midfield diamond would be his best position at the moment. He needs a greater license to attack than he is allowed as a holding midfielder (check his stats from when he played in Brazil). This kid loved scoring goals and spectacular goals at that. By employing him in a deeper unfamilar holding role benitez added to his woes, not only being in a new lace new language new peopel new style of football he was being asked to adapt his game It suit Benitez s needs, depriving him of the opportunities to score goals and gain the adoration of the fans as he had had at gremio.He went from golden boy of brazilian football , to defensive minded player with the reigns on him held so firmly he couldnt attack, couldn t express himself freely.
His confidence dipped further, especially in the aftermath of last season s game against fulham, when the supporters turned on him (he was notably having a shocker) and was unaided by Benitez’s lack of protection in withdrawing him in the face of such abuse.Away from home, questioning his decision to come to england in the first place, homesick, constantly berated by supposed fans, now liverpools sole scapegoat for failure but he didnt quit, he adapted his game , learned how to tackle and track back, something not natural to him in order to get a game in a Liverpool shirt, and now his confidence is building slowly he is solid if not spectacular, surely fearful of the backlash any time he might make a mistake, he needs this solid platform to add the spectacular to his game.
I really admire Lucas for his character more than anything, i think if every fan got off his back and he manages to get a feww goals and the manager gives him more license to get forward we could have an amazing midfielder on our hands.
Is there room for Lucas to improve i would say bucketloads, give him time to stabilise and win the fans over through solid performances and as his confidence builds so will his abilty to shine come to the fore, i predict really big things for Lucas, i see massive potential in him, future captain of both Liverpool and Brazil is not beyond him, and i know most thoughtless football fans will think i am mad for thinking this, but i truly believe that given the right support encouragement and freedom to we could have eventually one the games greats on our hands, possibly even good enough to rival gerarrd and dare i say it possibly even better
i am fully aware i am putting myself out there for ridicule but this is how much i believe in Lucas.
His acheievement in Brazil at the age of 19 were equivalent if not better than anything gerrard had done in a Liverpool shirt at that age. now he has had to make huge adjustments for someone so young,( adjustments Gerrard has never had t make and certainly at not so tender an age) he never lived away from home before, he moved continent , never suffered abuse at the hands of his own fans, the football in England is faster , more adaptation , he didnt know any english when he came to Liverpool, so many things for him to deal with. Now he starts to grow and mature into a more defensive minded player under benitez. i would like to see benitez unleash his attacking threat more, he can head the ball, he attacks the ball well in the air , his confidence is low and his will to follow through ie his conviction not being fully there is understandable given the abuse he has received from some quarters of the Liverpool support. if i were lucas i dare say i would have left the club by now and spat on the gates of anfield as i left
he is building slowly, he has won a lot of fans over this season.
In Brazil he won the Brazilian footballer of the year so his skills were never in doubt, what he has learned in England is how to fight and battle , how to tackle and how to persevere through the storm, even though at times he has walked alone , he never really truly has, he has always had his secret pockets of admirers throughout the Liverpool fan base. he is beginning to turn the tide of hatred against him and even the remaining doubters have been quietly impressed with his levels of performance this season and that is the mettle that champions are made of. it is the mettle that captains of great teams are made of, men who wont lie down in the face of adversity, that wont walk away when the going gets tough but stay and fight, even in the face of the worst abuse imagineable from his own supporters. that is the kind of man and character that i want to lead to my club in future.i have been his fan since the day he signed and will be until the day he leaves and prob will still wish him well after.
Lucas Leiva I salute you.