Walking on without Lucas, who plays?

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So tonight see’s us head to Craven Cottage, a ground that we quite literally stomped upon last term. On that night we saw Jay Spearing and Lucas Leiva hold firm in the middle which allowed Luis Suarez and Maxi Rodriguez to express themselves in devastating fashion. We were divine, Suarez terrorised them and Maxi finished his goals cooler than this Christmas to see us run out 5-2 winners.
This winter though has turned very cold, very quickly. The blow (and yes of course it’s a blow you doubters, he’s been our best player for the last 18 months or so) of losing Lucas for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament problem in his left knee has given an opportunity to those who will value it most.
So let us take a look at the contenders to play alongside Charlie Adam, who for me has established himself in the middle of midfield fantastically this season and especially during the past couple of games.
Jay Spearing – Many fans have said ‘don’t worry about the Lucas injury we have Jay Spearing.’ Yes ‘many fans’ you’re correct we do, but Jay is still a young man and like Kenny I firmly believe that if they’re good enough, age is no barrier. Although, with only 15 Premier League appearance under his belt (many of which were alongside Lucas), I’m unsure if I’d be comfortable with him playing for the remaining 6 months of the season under the immense pressure that comes with  playing in a Liverpool midfield without his mentor beside him. Defensively his positioning has been great throughout his LFC career and the only error that springs to mind is the last minute conceding of a penalty against Arsenal at the Emirates last season. The solid option but by know means a long term option right now.
Jonjo Shelvey – Having been recalled from Blackpool to provide more cover in light of the injury to Lucas he may feel he’s in with a chance of some playing time. He’s a man inform, he only played 10 games for Blackpool and scored an outstanding 6 goals in the heart of their midfield, now the Championship and Premier League are two very different divisions and a few of the points against Spearing can be applied to Jonjo, while a good player, one I’d prefer not to put into the spotlight quite yet, his time will come.
Jordan Henderson – Kenny has been playing our ’20 million pound man’ on the right side of a four man midfield this season but I firmly believe that he’s suited far better to a central midfield spot. He’s the kind of player that just won’t give the ball away he’ll do the simple thing extremely effectively and that’s what I love about him. He’s grown this season after been labeled a flop after 90 minutes of pitch time by some fans, he could have responded with a grumble and a moan but he’s gone about his business and proved himself to be a worthy addition. Many ‘expert’ pundits have labeled Darren Bent as the reason Sunderland have faulted this season but let’s remember just where we bought Jordan from…
Steven Gerrard – It’s a simple case for Gerrard which doesn’t require much explanation. When fit, he plays. Fit being the key word.
So there are 4 possibles, but who would you like to see in the middle and why?
Leave a comment and let me know!
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  1. Hey Ben,

    How about option 5: Conor Coady. Going on the same “if they’re good enough, age is no barrier” argument. I’ve felt for a long time that Coady is the next player to step up from youths and with the success that Kenny had with Flanagan and Robinson last season it might not be a bad option.

  2. It really does matter on which team we’re playing and if we are away from home or not. For easier games and home games I’d like to see Hendo coming in and playing in the centre with Adam. Maybe for the more nitty gritty games where the midfield can get combative, I’d punt for Spearing. But if we do play a Man Utd or Man City, I can be almost certain that there will be a midfield 5 with two wingers plus a midfield three of Hendo, Spearing and Adam.

    When Gerrard is fit, he will play. The only problem is, will he ever have a long run in the team before getting injured again? Time will tell. Maybe this would be an oppertune moment for Shelvey and even Coady to make cameos from the bench to aid future progress.

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