Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has issued a surprise appeal to Reds manager Brendan Rodgers – who, according to the 56-year-old, needs to play Lucas Leiva against Arsenal next Monday.
Lucas, who hasn’t even made the bench for our first two Premier League games, is reportedly free to leave the Reds before the transfer window closes at the end of the month (via Sky Sports). However, Aldridge believes that he should be brought in from the cold to help combat the attacking threat the Gunners possess.
We were, sadly, thrashed by Arsene Wenger’s side last time we visited the Emirates Stadium – when Jordan Henderson’s penalty was the only bright spark in an otherwise joyless 4-1 defeat. And, despite the fact that Lucas played the full 90 minutes back in April, Aldridge wants him in again next week.
“I’d play Lucas and I think we could have done with him at times against Bournemouth when we looked a little bit open and things got a bit tetchy,” he said. “He’s our only player for that situation. Henderson doesn’t do it, Milner doesn’t do it, Allen does it a little bit.”
Both against Stoke and against Bournemouth we began the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Henderson and Milner the central pair. In the first of those games, we switched to a 4-3-3 in the second-half, with Emre Can the deepest lying midfield player. On Monday, Can came on as a direct replacement for an injured Henderson.
Regardless of whether or not the skipper has recovered in time to feature against Arsenal, we could well see Can deployed from the start, with one of the more attacking players missing out instead. But, according to Aldridge, we need an even more defensively minded player in place – with Milner moving out wide to accommodate him.
“Milner could then be moved out to the right for the game to make us more solid,” he added. “I know he’s been promised that he’ll play centrally but sometimes the manager has to say ‘just take one for the team’ and there’s nothing to stop him going back to the centre the following week.”