Jamie Carragher has admitted that he would not be surprised to see Lucas leave Liverpool before the transfer window closes at the end of this month, but insists that the decision will ultimately come down to the player.
Lucas was left out of Brendan Rodgers’ squad for the first game of our new Premier League campaign last weekend, sitting out the 1-0 victory over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.
His absence has predictably led to speculation linking him with a move away from the club, with Juventus reportedly among those interested in signing him (via the Express).
The Brazilian midfielder is Liverpool’s longest-serving player, having been with us since 2007, and as our only out-and-out holding midfielder there has been an understandable amount of backlash from many Liverpool fans.
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However, Carragher points out that the decision as to whether the player stays or goes is likely to be one made by Lucas, rather than club – with the 28-year-old unlikely to settle for a bit-part role at this stage in his career.
“It’s his decision whether he leaves the club or not, more so than the club’s,” he said, in quotes taken by the Mirror.
“I know Lucas well and he doesn’t take too kindly to not playing. I do think it’s difficult to find a place for him in the team at the moment. I think Emre Can has to be next in line, ahead of Lucas, because of the age difference and the feeling within the club that he’s a classy player with a big future.
“I think he would be the better option now because [even if] he’s not ideally suited yet to the holding midfield role, he’s a good young player so you want to keep him involved and keep him happy by giving him games.”
Can, 21, was the midfielder included on the bench for the game at Stoke and came on when Liverpool switched to 4-3-3 in the second-half. With Joe Allen also due back from injury next month, Lucas’ chances in the team could be few and far between.
Despite our strength in midfield, we are short of defensively minded options in the centre of the park, with both Can and Allen perhaps lacking the same level of discipline as Lucas.
We’ve been sporadically linked with a couple of different anchor man candidates, most notably Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi (via the Metro), and Carragher says he’s a little surprised that we haven’t tried harder to sign one of those players this summer.
“I’m surprised they never tried to get one [a defensive midfielder] in the summer” he added. “I look at Jordan Henderson and James Milner as a midfield two and they’ve got great energy and I like both players. I think they’ll both get goals, but neither is that defensive minded. I think that might cause a problem in the coming weeks.”