Was Lucas Leiva really that bad against Leicester?

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Lucas Leiva of Liverpool is tackled by Robert Huth of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Anfield on September 10, 2016 in Liverpool, England.
All rights reserved by Michael Regan/Getty Images

In light of some really unfair criticism, I defend Lucas Leiva’s performance against Leicester City.

When Lucas Leiva made that blunder against Leicester, such was the reaction you wouldn’t have been far off thinking he’d killed someone. However, all he’d done was mis-control the ball and attempt a backpass to Simon Mignolet which landed at Jamie Vardy’s feet, gifting him a goal.

There are many who have tried to shift the blame onto Simon Mignolet’s shoulders. This is entirely unfair as the argument made is that he shouldn’t have offered himself to receive the backpass. The very same people crucify the Belgian for not being fluent enough on the ball. Sadly, this is part of a larger agenda as a result of a series of mistakes the Mignolet has made in the past.

Rather, I’d say that Lucas is the victim, yet again at Liverpool, of being shifted to a position which is not natural to him. You could argue that defensive midfield isn’t even his natural position after he spent his career with Gremio as a deep-lying playmaker. The difference between the two isn’t as great as the contrast between midfield and defence, though.

Dejan Lovren was on the receiving end of a horrific looking black eye in the build-up to the clash with Leicester which meant that Lucas had to be called in to cover for the Croatian centre-back.

Last season, Lucas filled in at centre-half quite comfortably. That being said, he never had to play a team quite as intensive as Leicester and the difference was quite telling.

He might have made a really disastrous mistake but for the rest of the game, with the brilliant home support singing his name in solidarity, he was really solid. He might not be a natural centre-half and he may have made a blunder, but he doesn’t deserve some of the flak he’s come in for.

Mamadou Sakho has been on the fringes of the Liverpool squad ever since being sent home from Liverpool’s pre-season tour. In light of Lucas’ disappointing appearance in defence, it might be more important to bring him back to play against Chelsea than to let the team suffer as a consequence. There are other ways of getting a message across.

That being said, I’m not Jurgen Klopp and I don’t make the decisions.

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.

2 COMMENTS

  1. He isn’t a central defender, some would say he’s a very mediocre DM, and it is unfair to play him in a position he’s not comfortable with against Vardy and Co.
    Ludicrous that a club of Liverpool’s standing and wealth play with a right-winger at LB, an attacking midfielder as DM and a relatively average DM at CB.
    We ended the transfer window about £20m RICHER than we started it, we COULD have bought Hector, to solve our perennial LB position, and STILL ended the window in profit but obviously the manager is putting all of his faith in our attacking side and probably putting his head in his hands every time the ball heads towards our defence.
    Personally, I think if we’ve got serious weaknesses – and pots of cash – you solve the weaknesses, thereby strengthening the entirety of the team so the attack wouldn’t have to score four every week in order for us to win.
    Bring back Sakho? Good grief! I hoped Sakho and Lucas, who have both been tried and discarded twenty times each, would be gone by now but, here they are, about to both enter the first team squad, and possibly the team, together, the way things are going! Neither is good enough, we all know that, but, somehow, they keep coming back . . .

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