I have always believed in Lucas Leiva

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I have been an advocate for Lucas Leiva ever since he signed for Liverpool and last April after his goal against Benfica I got very emotional in a ‘crying rant’ which was targeted to those supporters who had been bashing and blaming the young Brazilian for anything bad that happens.

But why the negativity towards Lucas? Before coming over to Liverpool he had won the Golden Ball award, this is prestigious award in the Brazilian league and former winners have included Zico, Falcão, Careca, Alex, Romario, Kaká and Tévez. Maybe Liverpool fans were expecting Lucas to be like most award winning Alumni and score a ton of goals? Lucas who was also Brazil’s U20 captain wasn’t like them, he was a different player, however even at that young age Rafa saw a lot of potential in him.

Lucas did have a hard time settling in, he looked shaky and nervous and after he was sent off in the FA cup clash against Everton many fans called for Rafa to sell him, some went even as far as to boo him. He did contribute in the 4-1 mauling of Man Utd at Old Trafford however the media and many Liverpool fans didn’t see his contribution. Jamie Redknapp even gave credit to Xabi Alonso who wasn’t even playing. Rafa was stuborn and believed in Lucas who in return spent his Summer holiday in the gym to buff up. In the 2009/10 season the sale of Xabi Alonso and the many lingering injuries suffered by Alberto Aquilani gave Lucas the opportunity to establish himself as a regular starter. Many fans were not happy however Lucas kept improving and even after contributing to another demolition of Man Utd at Anfield many fans still didn’t believe. I even saw some stooping very low and calling him “Rafa’s love child”.

2010/11 has started very well for the Brazilian, he has now won Man of the Match twice in a matter of a month (for the performance against Chelsea & Aston Villa) and he even scored a thundering 25 yarder against Steau Bucharest. He will turn 24 next month and really has a nice career lined up for him. He is establishing himself as a regular starter for Brazil and now he is now starting to win over the Liverpool fans. While many praise Rafa and others praise Roy I praise Lucas, after all he is one who worked hard to achieve this.

Lucas isn’t the only young player to come under criticism from Liverpool fans and the media, David N’Gog is another victim who has flourished this season, now I am starting to hear some grumbling over 18 year Jonjo Shelvey.

The lesson is,  have faith in our young players and give them a chance to develop before we start calling for heads to roll.


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  1. This is the article I like this site for. We are Liverpool. I know your views on Roy aren’t exactly brilliant Antoine, but until he is sacked… SURELY, we should get behind him. It’s not fair to keep slagging him of at this stage of the season. WE ALL as Liverpool fans should stick behind our players right now, cz they are all we have. YNWA

  2. very well written piece mate, well done.

    I couldn’t agree more with every word in this article, and that is coming from one of those fans you were discribing in the article. Well done.

  3. I have 2 agree
    I believed lucas wud get there this season he has been amazing
    N gog i always knew he wud come through-he will not score 20 a season but he is a sort of heskey player but will become better

    as for shelvey i think he is amazing young player

  4. hear, hear. Great write-up Antoine. I freely admit that I had my doubts about Lucas at first. Following his displays against Man Utd, I began to see why he won the Bola de Ouro. I was still kind of sceptical about him but his performances this season have been nothing short of top drawer stuff. Well done, I say, to Lucas, for getting his head down and silencing his critics. N’Gog is another one who has shown his promise this season and I believe Jonjo will shine in the future as well. YNWA

  5. I’m sorry. But didn’t you start a Lucas dis-appreciation society or something of that effect on facebook a couple of seasons ago?

  6. I was very wrong about Lucas. You made a good call, Antoine. If Ngog and Babel could somehow blossom the way Lucas has this season, it would be a tremendous boost.

  7. This is a great write up Antoine..
    Since Lucas came to us, I have always believed in his potential. Although his development has not been as quick as some have wanted, it has been a steady one. The way he’s performing at the moment, just show’s what he’s really capable off. I personally think he’s got much more to give yet. Definitely more to come yet. Ngog’s has also been a slow one, but a good one at that. If he beefs up a bit more, he’ll be even better. Shelvey’s gonna be a monster for us, once he’s ready! YNWA

  8. I’ve never been convinced about Lucas. He was a decent squad player in the 08/09 season, but I never thought he’d be a starter.

    Then we lost Xabi and I think I treated Lucas unfairly because he wasn’t as good as him, but I can now see they are very different players.

    This season, with Raul, he has convinced me he can be a Liverpool starter. I hope that when Gerrard’s back that Raul and Lucas get to stay together in the centre of midfield so they can continue to improve!

  9. I understand your worries Antoine, believe me, those players are the future of our club! And i do agree… i’m not saying Roy is perfect, because he isnt. He does need to play the younger kids more. Agreed, however, have you thought perhaps, the reason he hasnt, is he is trying to get us stable first. When he has us stable.. and nearer the head of the table, then he can risk using the younger boys. There are certain players i think he should use now, Pacheco and Kelly being the main two. But i honestly think the rest should be kept until we are more stable. I honestly believe this man can do it! YNWA

  10. I’ve always backed Lucas, although I’ve criticised some of his performances I’ve never jumped on the band wagon and laughed at him. There will be many that will say they’ve never taken the piss out of him just because they’ve been proved wrong, but I’m glad I’m not one of them. Lucas is finally developing into a possibly a world class player. Good on him, but in some ways I think that the criticism from alot of the fans helped push him.

  11. i think roy will have a headache about our starting eleven.we have a young player,Lucas,who’s been very good this year.we have raul meireles who is one of my favorite players already at liverpool.and we have the best captain and player in the world,steven gerrard.against chelsea or arsenal away,i think roy will play a 4-5-1 and combine these three together.against easier team at home he will play a 4-4-2 to break defenses.my favorite line up:Reina-Johnson-Skrtel-Agger-(new left back)-J.Cole-Gerrard-Meireles-Maxi-Torres-Ngog.we defo need a left back cauz Konchesky and Aurelio arent Liverpool standard.Aurelio could be but he is too injury prone.

  12. I was delighted when we got Lucas and thought “that is some signing”. Brazilian League player of the year at 19. Never lived up to the hype and I would gladly have seen him outr the door. Happy to be “proved” wrong, though. I still believe he needs a longer in-form run to be completely convinced he should be in IX line up week in and out..

  13. he has been fantastic this season. He signed as a player who played of the striker as did Anderson at Man utd and both have been employed in defensive midfield positions (technically one of the most technical and crucial roles in the game). The latter spat the dummy whilst Lucas changed his whole menetality to help the team. For the boy to adjust his game 95% and become a snarling defensive mid (which is what he has been this season) is absolutely fantastic and a glowing tribute to the kid.

  14. Lucas has been outstanding this season. I think him and meireiles compliment each other really well. We just need gerrard in front and one out and out pacey winger and we will challenge for the top four no doubt. But back to lucas he does the basics very well keeps it simple and wins it back while it may not be pleasing on the eye its effective and essential to have players like him in our TEAM :) And while Woy s here lets back him the football’s improving week after week!

  15. I’m of the opinion that a lot of the criticism directed at Lucas and more recently N’Gog stems from the idea that every young player needs to be astoundingly brilliant from an early age or they aren’t ‘Liverpool quality’.

    Zidane truly came to prominence when he was 23/24 years of age. Drogba only really hit his potential when he was 24. Two fantastic and influential players who were good at an early age but definitely took a bit of time to bloom, especially when compared to some of current stand out players in the world.

    Lucas has settled into the team and looks far more confident in his general play. He may well be one of the most ‘un-Brazilian’ players you’re likely to see but that shouldn’t detract from the aspects of the game that he’s good at. I still don’t understand the almost constant level of criticism I see leveled at N’Gog. He needs to work on his strength and holding play but he certainly looks like a player who will continue to improve from an already fairly impressive start.

  16. Never had any doubt. I remember fighting with my brother on Lucas. I always told him that Liverpool fans have treated him bad. He really deserves an apology.

    YNWA Lucas, from Iraq

  17. Glad to see we are supporting our players again.
    Of course I´m biased living where I do but I knew Lucas would make the grade with a little time, which Rafa gave him and know we are reaping the rewards.
    Remember he is still quite young.
    There are no complaints about him here in Brazil. No one thinks he is Zico or Ronaldo but he is solid and the first on The Brazilian teamsheet now. Calm and always looking forward. he has learnt a lot from wathcing Alonso I think and he partners Gerrard better than any player in the team. Now Meirelles is playing we have a more solid center too.
    I was happy to buy Luca´s 27 shirt in the fist season and still wear it with pride.
    Parabens Lucas.
    Vocé nunca vai andar sozinho (a poor translation of YNWA in Portuguese)

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