Liverpool FC: Lucas Leiva Injured, Time for Some G-Force
First, Reds fans all around the world had to endure a disappointing sight as Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva had to be stretched off in the second half. A couple of days later, news broke out that the defensive midfielder, who has been a revelation in the past 18 months, will miss the remainder of the season with his left knee requiring surgery due to an injury in the anterior cruciate ligament.
This piece of news has certainly disrupted the harmony and optimism surrounding Anfield this season. Liverpool sit sixth in the league, three points behind fourth-place Newcastle and a chance of claiming silverware, and edging closer to a two-legged clash against Manchester City in the Carling Cup semifinals next month.
But all is not doom and gloom for the Reds, as one player would not determine the fate of a team. Football is a team sport in which 11 players contribute to the team's success. Kenny Dalglish would know that, and with his experience would surely have a trick or two up his sleeve to tackle this issue.
For the ones out there who think that King Kenny would go into the January transfer market to recruit a replacement for Lucas—who in last season made the most number of successful tackles in the Premier League—well, your hopes could end up not being fulfilled, if reports are to be believed.
If Kenny is going to deploy the formation that he has used in recent games with three midfielders and two wingers supporting Luis Suarez up front, I believe Steven Gerrard is the most capable replacement for Leiva.
Using the term 'replacement' does sound disrespectful to a club legend and captain of Liverpool, but that just goes to show how much Lucas has worked to making the defensive midfield position his own and in the process becoming a crucial player to the Reds. It would not be an understatement to say that Lucas is now just as important to the team as Gerrard, Reina, Carragher and Suarez.
Gerrard, despite his illustrious career spanning more than a decade, has surprisingly not had a permanent role in either club and country. He has had the experience of playing as a central midfielder, right winger, supporting striker and holding midfielder for the club he supported as a boy. It is no different when he plays for England, as his versatility is put to the test in almost every match he plays.
Gerrard possesses a great amount of talent, even being acknowledged by the best in the business. He has great vision, can pass the ball short or long, tackles cleanly and has a thunderous shot. He is an all-rounder, and he gives his best wherever he plays.
For the short term, though, the idea of having Gerrard in the team cannot materialise as he, like Lucas, is down with a knock. His last game was the 1-1 home draw against Norwich City. Kenny Dalglish has refused to specify a return date for the Liverpool captain but has said that the Kop idol will be back 'sooner rather than later.'
I expect Dalglish to give youngster Jay Spearing a run of games in the next couple of weeks or so to prove his worth to the team. Once Stevie G comes back, this in my opinion should be the desired formation for Liverpool:-
Johnson - Skrtel - Agger - Enrique
Henderson - Adam
Bellamy Suarez Maxi
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