The Dutch destroyer is linked with a loan move to Anfield after Lucas was ruled out for eight weeks with knee ligament damage, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail Online:
Liverpool are considering a loan bid for AC Milan's Nigel de Jong.
Lucas is expected to miss two months with a knee ligament injury, leaving the Anfield club worryingly short of a defensive midfielder.
Brendan Rodgers, who secured vital signings Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge during last year's January transfer window, will secure a major coup if he can tempt de Jong back to England.
The AC Milan midfielder, known for his tough-tackling approach, is exactly the man to ensure Lucas' spell on the sideline doesn't produce fatal repercussions for Liverpool's hopes of making the Champions League.
De Jong is a vastly experienced midfielder, one who has performed admirably at the top level of the game. He was a key component alongside Yaya Toure during City's ascension to the Premier League title in 2011-12, while this season, he has made 24 appearances for a struggling Milan side, per WhoScored.com.
Indeed, de Jong's stats are extremely similar to those of Lucas:
|Lucas Leiva vs. Nigel De Jong, 2013-14 League Stats|
|Name:||Avg. Tackles per Game||Interceptions||Fouls||Pass Success||Total Yellow Cards||Red Cards||Goals||Assists|
|Lucas Leiva||3.9||2.5||2||91.3 percent||5||0||0||0|
|Nigel de Jong||2.4||3.3||1.3||92.3 percent||6||0||0||3|
The 29-year-old is also famous for a horrific "kung-fu" tackle on Xabi Alonso in the 2010 World Cup final. Despite this, his willingness to do battle in the centre of the pitch is usually a positive aspect of his game.
Liverpool fans witnessed a breakdown of communication between Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson during the recent 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. The latter performed admirably during Gerrard's recent absence, but his leash was tightened when the captain returned.
This led to laborious, easy-to-read play in the middle of the park. Villa's energetic midfield found it easy to break beyond two midfielders who don't possess intimidating pace, while Coutinho's poor performance on the flank also invited pressure onto the Reds defence.
De Jong is the perfect player to halt this from happening. He will keep things ticking over by progressing possession with simple passes, while utilising his motor to shield the back four.
Liverpool need someone to play the thankless role, and if a loan deal can be set up, de Jong represents a clever signing for the remainder of the campaign.
Despite his suitability, Mike Whalley of ESPN FC suggests alleged interest is short-lived and won't result in de Jong moving:
"Former Manchester City man De Jong had emerged as a candidate to replace the injured Brazil international but sources have told ESPN that he is not a target for the Reds."
During a time of inflated prices in the January transfer window, a loan deal for de Jong is a cheap and intelligent way of ensuring the side maintains momentum.