Liverpool’s longest serving player Lucas is today contemplating his Anfield future after manager Brendan Rodgers left him out of the opening day squad which defeated Stoke at the Britannia.
Rodgers chose James Milner and Jordan Henderson to start in midfield alongside Coutinho, and then brought Emre Can off the bench too while the 28-year-old watched from the stands.
Journalist Paul Joyce reckons that Lucas’s exclusion from the 18 was due to a fall-out with management, and that it has increased the likelihood of him moving on this summer.
“Another concern centres on Liverpool’s strength in depth in midfield with Lucas left out of the squad entirely following a fall-out which presumably now promotes the prospect of a parting,” Joyce wrote in his post-match piece for the Express.
“He would need replacing.”
Despite being with the club since 2007, Lucas (and Martin Skrtel for that matter) was overlooked for Liverpool’s vice-captaincy this summer – with Rodgers preferring summer Bosman signing James Milner as Jordan Henderson’s understudy.
The snubbing will no doubt have resonated with the loyal anchorman, who didn’t make the bench even though Joe Allen was injured and unavailable.
Lucas’s limitations are well known. He’s never going to create anything, and his mobility in the centre is poor, but his importance to the squad should not be underestimated. He has experience and discipline and a defensive mindset.
Joyce is right in that if Lucas is shipped out he’ll need replacing, as we’ll be short in the centre if we’re planning on using a three man midfield this season.
Ideally though, Rodgers and the player will iron out any differences, and can move forward together.