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To be perfectly honest, if you had asked me if I would have included Lucas in my list at the end of last season, I would have laughed at you. Yet now, it is clear to see the potential this young man has got.
When signed in 2007 for around five million, I was expectant. Brazilian attacking midfielder, the next Kaka, maybe. Yet when he pulled on the red jersey and started playing, i was appalled. I was mildly humiliated to see a player looking lost out on the Anfield pitch, misplacing simple passes and making horrific challenges. It was only the patience of Rafael Benitez that kept him in the side, as the Liverpool faithful were calling for his head, me included. Nice way to start your career, isn't it?
For his first two seasons, nothing improved for the Brazilian, who looked out of place in a Liverpool side that was at one point challenging for titles, a team with Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and Steven Gerrard in midfield! It is plausible that the midfield trio made Lucas look sub-standard in comparison; in fact, I'm sure they did.
Why? Because when Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso left, Lucas was finally able to make the midfield role his own. Playing alongside an influencial skipper, Steven Gerrard, Lucas was able to pick up vital lessons about performing admirably in midfield.
Playing deeper than Gerrard, Lucas is the holding player in the Liverpool XI, making big tackles and clever passes. This enables Gerrard to move forward with Raul Meireles while still maintaining decent cover. His age, enthusiasm and ability at this moment in time could see him develop into the next Gerrard; after all, this man is in the Brazilian national team, so he's only going to get better.