Lucas Leiva

Lucas Leiva
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Lucas Leiva

Current Club: SS Lazio.

Previous Clubs: Liverpool, Gremio.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Brazil 22 caps.

Trophies Won: English League Cup 2012, Italian Super Cup 2017/18, Under-20 South American Championship 2007, Campeonato Brasileiro Serie B 2004/05.

Lucas originally arrived in English football as a goalscoring attacking midfielder with vision and movement, only to be turned into a holding midfielder by Rafael Benitez during his time at Liverpool. Oddly, he was often heavily criticised for doing exactly what Fernandinho is so often lauded for doing now, taking one for the team by fouling a player running at the defence and giving away a free kick.

At the start he did look lost in the deeper role and it did take him time to adapt, often being caught a little too far up field, but time out with long term injuries, which robbed him of the pace and acceleration he once possessed (he was never the quickest but he did have a decent turn of pace previous to the injuries) have actually helped his game. They have forced him to concentrate on his positioning, which has become excellent and a real key asset in his game.

Added to that he has still got the vision and ability to slide through balls into an attacker, when he has the opportunity. In fact, despite a lot of criticism of him only passing sideways and backwards, which Liverpool fans seem to complain about with anyone who is not Steven Gerrard, another of his key assets is his vision and ability to play slide rule passes forward. The issue he tends to have is not having the movement ahead of him to play the ball through to.

Lucas lacks mobility, he struggles when a game goes end-to-end quickly and can be left behind if the pace of the game is too quick, because of that lack of mobility. Defensively that can mean his good positional sense is wasted as opponents can just miss him out with balls in behind the defence or using the width. Lucas simply does not have the pace to use to cover the wide areas, though he can drop into the defensive line to allow a centre back to push out and cover any balls in the wide areas.

He is good in the air, which is very useful on set pieces, Lucas often takes the space ahead of the near post and usually can deal with anything played in that area. It is a shame that his goal touch has vanished, as he was once a very good goalscorer but now he only seems to be getting chances from 30 or 40 yards from goal with a hopeful shot, rather than breaking into the box as he used to on a regular basis.

Lucas's game is now to sit and protect the defence and spray the ball about, moving it on quickly and to constantly make himself available for a pass. Off the ball he is concentrated on holding his place in the centre and looking to break up play quickly to stop opponents building up a rhythm on the ball. He will put a foot in and take the foul, if need be, rather than allow his team to be put under pressure. Perfectly suited to Serie A and exactly what Man City as a team do and are lauded for, but still criticised for doing that as a Liverpool player.

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