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And then there’s Lucas.
The Lucas who failed to instantly impress and settle into the English game when he arrived from Gremio as one of Brazil’s best young attacking midfielders, but won his way into Liverpool hearts with whole-hearted performances in the center of midfield.
The Lucas who, after the departures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, was given chances to establish himself as Liverpool’s first-choice defensive midfielder and even forced his way into the Brazil national team following his improvement.
The Lucas who, after years of being maligned and criticized, was finally recognized with the Standard Chartered Fans Player of the Year for the 2010-2011 season after a year of mature and calm performances in the Liverpool midfield.
Such is his rise from Liverpool outcast to Kop hero that he is now acclaimed by sections of the Reds support to be the premier defensive midfielder in the English Premier League, and one of the finest in European football.
Which, as decent and humble he might be as a person, he is not.
Lucas does not possess the pace and power that is a hallmark of true world-class players in his position, and while a specialist defensive anchorman is a shield in front of his defence, Lucas has contributed a depressing lack of goals from midfield.
A fully-fit Lucas isn’t near world-class status, and a Lucas coming back from long-term injury certainly isn’t close to the level many Liverpool fans have pegged him at simply because of his renaissance. His non-appearance in his area during Jay Rodriguez’s stroll through the Liverpool midfield only showed how out of position he can be.
If Liverpool aspire to return to the upper echelons of English and European football, the harsh reality is that they will need someone better than Lucas to start week in, week out.
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