Time for Liverpool to Splash some Cash?

The news came down last week… Lucas Leiva will miss the remainder of the season, and it’s safe to assume that the Anfield faithful will certainly miss him, whether they realize it or not. In my mind, Lucas is one of the most under-rated players in the Premier League. It wasn’t always the case, but the young Brazilian has really shown his worth over the past few seasons.
When Lucas started appearing in the Premier League for the Reds, I was quite skeptical. Who was this funny looking Brazililan who didnt seem to be much of an offensive threat, and who didnt even really look like a typical Brazilian? After a few seasons I got past the initial impression and realized his potential value to Liverpool. When skipper Steven Gerrard went down with prolonged injury spells starting in the 2009 season, Lucas stepped up big time, making 35 appearances and showing much improvement. Javier Mascherano left for Barcelona a few months later leaving then-manager Rafa Benitez with a huge hole in the center of midfield.

It was then that I realized how important a player like Lucas was at Anfield. Someone had to be there to thwart opposition if the likes of Torres, Suarez, and Gerrard ever wanted a chance at the offensive end of the pitch. You won’t find Lucas on the stat sheet very often, because most meaningful stats don’t showcase what he provides. After a bit of digging, I found that Lucas leads the league in tackles and tackle success percentage this season, and has been near the top in these categories for the past few years now. He also consistently ranks near the top of the PL in passes completed and pass %. Overall, it’s safe to say that he’s at the top of the League at his position.

So when the news came down that Liverpool would be without the effective midfielder for the next 6 months, I immediately looked at the Reds’ roster. Who would take Lucas’ place in the line-up? I came up with three options.

1– Liverpool have already announced that Jonjo Shelvey has been recalled from his loan at Blackpool. The teenager is quite unproven at the top level, and has large shoes to fill. However, he has scored 6 times in 10 appearances for the Tangerines this year.

2Charlie Adam gained notoriety at Blackpool for being a box to box midfielder. Since coming to Anfield he’s shown more of an offensive mindset, playing ahead of Lucas on most cases. He’ll need to drop back into the holding role now; can he be as effective?

3– Sign a new defensive midfielder as cover. This is surely a last choice move considering Liverpool seems content with their current squad. Nevertheless, the English media rumormill will certainly turn on in less than a month, so let’s just start it now.

All in all, this is a blow for Liverpool, and the situation is now up to Kenny Dalglish to make the proper adjustment. Liverpool is within striking distance of their coveted top 4 finish, and won’t be able to miss a beat if they intend to catch the growing number of teams ahead of them in the table. Liverpool still has much of the season ahead of them, but their first test will be tonight at Craven Cottage.

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