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The importance of being Lucas Leiva



Certain types of players easily catch the eye, get the plaudits, become indispensable to a team, normally strikers or goal-scoring midfielders, however there are those who go under the radar. One that is maybe the most under appreciated is that of the real defensive midfielder, the ‘water-carrier’. There are questions if that exact role even exists in the modern game but whichever variation of it is played, it has become crucial within the Premier League and that has been highlighted at Liverpool.

Lucas, really epitomizes ‘the destroyer’ a player who’s job is to win the ball back and pass it on to a more stereo-typically talented player to start an attack. Their role is to make up for the lack of defensive cover from some of the more creative players, despite defending increasingly becoming more of a team responsibility. They proactively look to win the ball back through a tackle or interception, breaking up the attack, protecting the defense or in some games just man marking an oppositions most dangerous central player.

One of these players who has got some respect and appreciation is Matic and his signing at Chelsea is what arguably is the foundation of what has turned them into the best team in the country. When he plays well he stops the centre halves from being exposed and it is clear to see that when he plays poorly like against Tottenham, the team itself suffers massively, in that instance shipping five goals. Arsenal have looked massively more impressive since young Coquelin has been recalled from loan at Charlton and put into the first team. His inclusion has given the Arsenal midfield such balance, compared to Wilshere or the over the hill Flamini. Manchester City rely on a solid base of Fernando or Fernandinho and Manchester United also look much better when Carrick or Blind are in place in front of the back three.

Lucas dispossessing Aston Villa’s Tom Cleverly.

However, the biggest obvious upturn in form when a player is in the side is that of Lucas Leiva. Back in November Liverpool were out of the Champions League and suffered an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace and Rodgers position was under heavy scrutiny. In response Rodgers changed  to his now regular 3-4-2-1. The next Premier League game was against Stoke and the big news of the day was that Steven Gerrard was dropped and replaced by Lucas. Before the game he had only been involved in three fixtures but since then they haven’t looked back, he has only missed one game and that was by no coincidence the 3-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Since his reintroduction to the side Liverpool went from conceding 1.5 goals a game to 0.90 per game, it has also led to the teams talisman, Steven Gerrard being allowed to be rid of his defensive duties which he overall failed at and given the licence to return to former glories of his forward play-making ways. Gerrard managed on average 1.9 tackles per game and 0.7 interceptions per game whilst in the role, now compare that to what Lucas has achieved so far; he averages 4 tackles a game and 2 interceptions a game. The other players in the team have confidence in him aswell and that allows the full backs to commit to attacks knowing that Lucas is there to shield the defense and stop any counter attacks.

The greatest shame about Lucas is perhaps that even his teams own fans don’t appreciate him, many wouldn’t even blink if he was sold, and many say he is not good enough. Potentially back to the original point of that he isn’t a goal scorer or doesn’t zip past players or make last ditch challenges or maybe because like a goalkeeper when he does make a mistake it is clear to see and is heavily berated. If you want to take it from a stats point of view this season without Lucas, Liverpool have won only 3 of their 11 Premiership games and with him they have won 8 of the 12, impressive stuff.

Liverpool can no longer, with Gerrard aging and Suarez gone, rely on outscoring the opposition, so defensively solidity is far more important this season than it was in the previous one. He is the one who breaks up the play and starts up an attack, he may not be a spectacular passer but he is solid enough, he is exactly what Liverpool need in this time as they look re-emerge as a top four side.

Tottenham fan and wannabe wordsmith who just enjoys writing about his club and all other aspects of our wonderful game.


Jugen Klopp wanted him in 2016, Filip Kostic set for cut-price exit

The Serbian is set to be relegated with Hamburg.



In the summer of 2016 Liverpool were being linked with the signature of Serbian winger Filip Kostic. The Independent reported that Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, had both watched the player, but had missed out. Hamburg instead signed Kostic from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart for £12 million.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would have known all about Kostic through his Bundesliga links and seeing him move elsewhere would have been frustrating. But, nearly two years on from Kostic’s Hamburg move, Liverpool may feel they dodged a bullet.

Hamburg’s Serbian midfielder Filip Kostic (L) celebrates scoring the 1-0 with Hamburg’s defender Matthias Ostrzolek during the German first division Bundesliga football match between TSG Hoffenheim and Hamburg SV in Sinsheim, southern Germany, on November 20, 2016. / AFP / DANIEL ROLAND / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050 (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP/Getty Images)

This summer, if Liverpool still wanted Kostic, they could get him cheap. The reason why? His performances have not lived up to his ability since the Hamburg move. Now, the Bundesliga side look doomed to relegation. The result will be a firesale in the summer, as HSV look to meet financial demands. Kostic, being one of the most valuable players and highest-earners at the club, will be available.

Based on his form for Hamburg, Liverpool would be unlikely to take an interest in the player.

But, rather than dodging a bullet, perhaps this situation could work out perfectly for Klopp and Liverpool.

Whilst Kostic has had a rough time at Hamburg, a lot of that is down to the running of the club.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – MARCH 10: Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 10, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

For the Serbian national team the 25-year-old has still been in good form and Liverpool might just be able to bring Kostic in at a cut-price.

With the World Cup coming up this summer, Kostic will look to shine. A deal for Liverpool before then may prove to be a masterstroke.

Liverpool can look at Kostic in two ways. One, a transfer failure they should be happy with. Two, an opportunity for a bargain this summer.

Either way Klopp and Liverpool cannot really lose.

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English Premier League

One goal in 15 and battling relegation, Divock Origi’s woeful loan spell

The Belgian has struggled in German football and may not have a future at Liverpool.



Liverpool are currently in fine form and Jurgen Klopp’s side are having a great season. They look set to finish in the Premier League top four yet again and will be hoping to finish second. They have also booked themselves a place in the Champions League final eight.

That sort of brilliance is not being mirrored by one of their players currently out on loan. Divock Origi was signed by Liverpool from Lille in 2014 after impressing in France and with the Belgian national team.

The bullish forward has shown glimpses of his talent for Liverpool. Last season he played 43 times for the club, scoring 11 goals. However, Liverpool decided he would be best off elsewhere and Origi was shipped out on loan in the summer to VfL Wolfsburg.

Wolfsburg’s Belgian forward Divock Origi and Leverkusen´s defender Panagiotis Retsos vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer Leverkusen vs VfL Wolfsburg in Leverkusen, western Germany, on October 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PATRIK STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050 (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

It has certainly not worked out for the Belgian.

The team have suffered this season. After losing more key players in the summer wolfsburg have spent most of the Bundesliga campaign battling relegation. They are currently on a winless run of six games. They are currently level on points with Mainz in the final relegation spot, which involves a play-off with the third best side from 2.Bundesliga.

These were not the hopes of Wolfsburg fans before the season and Origi has not been a shining light in their dreadful campaign.

The 22-year-old has scored just five goals in 26 games this season, with just one goal in his last 15 appearances.

Such form is making it increasingly unlikely that the Liverpool forward will be heading to the World Cup with Belgium this summer, which was one of the main reasons behind the move to Germany.

BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND – AUGUST 23: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool celebrates with Divock Origi of Liverpool after the EFL Cup second round match between Burton Albion and Liverpool at Pirelli Stadium on August 23, 2016 in Burton upon Trent, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Liverpool have had high hopes for Origi. But at the moment it is looking like those expectations may have been misplaced.

Origi, who went nine games without a goal at one point this season, must now improve if he is to help Wolfsburg stave off a seemingly unthinkable relegation this season.

If not, it is hard to see Origi having a future at Liverpool at all.

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Is Jurgen Klopp moulding Jordan Henderson into Liverpool’s Michael Carrick?

The Liverpool midfielder is finally starting to move the ball forward in brisker fashion.



Photo: Getty Images

Liverpool are currently putting up a great fight in the race to be best of the rest in the Premier League this season. At the weekend they continued that form, by getting the better of Newcastle United at Anfield. Plenty of players shined in that performance, including Jordan Henderson.

The midfielder is one of English football’s more divisive figures. Finding a follower of the England national team that is a fan of Henderson can sometimes be a needle in a haystack mission.

Yet he continues to be a regular in the improving Liverpool side, but he has certainly made changes to his playing style recently.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images)

One criticism often laid at Henderson’s door is his negative passing frequency. For many England fans, and Liverpool fans, watching Henderson pass sideways to a full-back or back to his centre-backs became a far too common occurrence. Recently, however, Henderson has become more probing.

Now the 27-year-old is changing his game and is constantly looking to get the ball forward. It helps of course that Henderson is now playing with such talents as Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. The movement in front of Henderson is becoming world-class and now he is finally starting to provide more direct ammunition.

(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

To compare him to another player, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick springs to mind.

The greatest attribute the 36-year-old has is that ability to get the ball and, before anything else, see if he has a pass on ahead of him.

It is a trait currently being shown by his potential long-term replacement Scott McTominay.

Henderson is finally starting to adapt his game to play in a much more forward thinking and brisk fashion.

Such expeditious play from Liverpool’s midfield maestro combines perfectly with his obvious physical ability and tackling nous.

Hopefully he can continue to become more and more like Carrick. If he does then Liverpool and England’s front-men will be extremely thankful.

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