The Guardian are reporting that following Liverpool's decision to leave Lucas out of Sunday's match day squad for their visit to Stoke, they are now willing to listen to offers for the Brazilian. Previously, he has always stayed to fight for his place within the team (and often been turned to) but with the arrival of James Milner and Emre Can's emergence, it may be the end of his time at Anfield.
Is this the right time for Lucas to move on or is Brendan Rodgers potentially making a mistake letting the Premier League veteran move on? Jamie Carragher made his thoughts pretty clear on the matter last season in his Sky Sports column:
"Lucas is completely different from Gerrard, he is a destructor in front of the defence and that’s what Liverpool need. He’s always thinking defensively and is aware of what’s going on around him. Their results have improved massively since his inclusion. He has had a big effect on the team and he’s got to stay there."
LUCAS LEIVA - WITH & WITHOUT
|POS: MID||AGE: 28Y 7M|
|HEIGHT: 5FT 8IN||WEIGHT: 11ST 9LB|
|PL | LIV | 14/15||14/15 14/15 | LIV | PL|
It can't be argued the Brazilian international didn't have an influence on the Liverpool team last season.
Playing in 20 of Liverpool's 38 Premier League games last season, when he took to the pitch he lowered the average time it took for the Reds to score a goal by 19 minutes and added an extra four minutes to the average time it took them to concede.
This in turn had the effect of raising the average points from 1.3 to 1.9 when Lucas Leiva played for Liverpool.
Jamie Carragher also spoke on Sky Sports last season about his perceived importance in the Liverpool team:
With Steven Gerrard's departure it's a little surprising that Brendan Rodgers hasn't signed a proper defensive replacement. The combination of James Milner and Jordan Henderson will probably provide enough defensive cover for the majority of Premier League games. However in the games against bigger teams, a defensive midfield specialist could be very useful and Emre Can would seem to be the natural successor.
Lucas has never been a standout player because the jobs he does for the team are neither highlight worthy or provide raw stats to review. However that shouldn't mean the importance of his role is underestimated.
After eight years service hopefully any decision will be given with respect by both parties but in a long hard season with Liverpool fighting on four fronts, it may come back to bite Brendan Rodgers.
After a positive start to the season Liverpool will look to get a run of form going with victory over newly promoted Bournemouth this weekend. Our unique predictive algorithm rates Liverpool chances of victory as the highest of any of the Premier League fixtures (64%). It's easy to see why with the Cherries tipped to finish in the bottom two this season and Liverpool have taken 34 from a possible 36 points against teams finishing in the bottom two in the past three seasons.
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