61 Appearances (as of 3/13/2009)
Signed from Gremio in 2007 for 5 mil
BACKGROUND BEFORE LFC
Lucas Leiva was the Brazilian league’s player of the year before joining Liverpool. Surprised? You should be, because Lucas really hasn’t done much so far to justify that honor. Sure, you can see his ability and his technique… but accuracy? Consistency? Not so sure. Anyhow, the honor was won and Benitez was the winner in a large group of clubs looking to sign on the Brazilian international. After all, he had taken a side not at all fancied to the Copa Libertadores Final, where they were hammered by Boca Juniors, but still… that was quite the achievement.
SIGNING FOR, AND SETTLING INTO, LFC
When Rafa signed Lucas, we all thought, “GREAT! SOME BRAZILIAN FLAIR!” Tough luck on that one. He signed for 5 mil, which is somewhat justified given the potential he has, but early performances suggested that the Premiership was at a pace that doesn’t suit him. Not the best first touch, which is quite unBrazilian, and passes going horribly astray. Since then, he’s given up a few penalties and hasn’t really shown signs that he was the prospect we all hoped he would be. Has it been all bad? No. He has his on-days, and those on-days have allowed him to continue playing for us. There ARE moments where he’s quite superb (against Newcastle, for instance), and even his biggest doubters will concede that he has these moments where he’s a useful player. The problem is, he hasn’t settled and it never seems like he has two straight good games.
STYLE OF PLAY
The word about Lucas before his arrival is that he’s a “box to box” player. That is pretty much true, but he tends to sit further back than the second box. He likes to fill in those little small pockets where he can get the ball moving forward, quickly advancing the play sideways so that the wingers can push forward. When he is on his game, he is also quite capable of the killer through-ball. That said, he is a tempo-controller, and usually those types of players tend to be more defensive minded and think about nullifying and annoying the opposition rather than pressing forward. No wonder the fans aren’t “fans” of him…
Lucas has had a few good moments, the top of which in my mind is his wonder-strike against Havant & Waterlooville in the FA Cup in the 2007-2008 season. It was a delightful strike, leaving the supporters thinking, “THAT is the Brazilian international we’ve all heard about…” If any other player would have scored that, I bet people would still be replaying it everywhere. It was truly fantastic. His winner against Crewe wasn’t too bad either, and I’d also like to give mention to his throughball to Gerrard that gave us that lovely 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle at St. James’ Park. It was a world class pass, and that’s no exaggeration.
Where do I start? The red card in the FA Cup against Everton, the penalty away at Wigan when we were 1-0 up with only minutes to play… being booed by the Liverpool fans (which was a disgrace… I hate that crap) and basically his career so far with us. It isn’t that I don’t think he’s a good player. It is that he doesn’t apply himself. That pisses me off. GO FORWARD! Show your skill! I bet a lot of other supporters feel the same way.
2008-2009 SEASON VERDICT
Lucas has had more ups this year than last, where people were wondering what the hell he was doing at the club. Although there have been a few dark moments, he has come in and occasionally done a job for us. The problem is that it is occasional. The question remains, “WHAT DOES HE ADD TO OUR SIDE? HOW DO WE IMPROVE?” The answer is yet to be seen, as nobody is quite sure. If I was to be honest, I’d give him a C- this season.
LFC CAREER VERDICT
Just read the above sections and you’ll get a clear picture. “Sell Lucas” can be read in message boards across the internet. You don’t have to look far to see what the supporters think. Just look at what less-fancied Jay Spearing did when he came on. That same commitment would be appreciated, yet nobody expects it from Lucas. Let’s hope for better from him, but don’t get your hopes up.