Stats: Should Liverpool let Brazilian midfielder leave for Inter?

Lucas Leiva

Statistics suggest Lucas Leiva may be worth keeping for the Reds.

According to the Daily Mail, Serie A side Inter are interested is signing the Brazilian midfielder - and it would be easy to argue the case for Liverpool to sell the 27-year-old.

With new signing Emre Can specialising in defensive midfield and fellow new team-mate Adam Lallana adding to the competition in attacking midfield, Lucas could easily be considered an extra, unneeded body at Anfield.

The likes of Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho and Joe Allen, meanwhile, offer much more than the Brazilian going forward.

Financially, any money recouped on Lucas could be a bonus for the Reds, as the funds they are likely to spend on new signings may only see them break even or make a small profit on a potential sale of Luis Suarez.

Surely, then, all roads point to Rome (or Milan in this case..)?

  TeamPosTackles WonInterceptions WonPass Accuracy (%)GoalsAssistsAppsMins
Steven Gerrard Liverpool MF 71 48 85.98 13 13 34 2,900
Lucas Leiva Liverpool MF 64 50 90.80 0 0 27 1,872
Jordan Henderson Liverpool MF 59 34 87.11 4 7 35 3,128
Joe Allen Liverpool MF 56 26 86.65 1 0 24 1,438
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool MF 56 16 80.58 5 7 33 2,334

Well, selling the 27-year-old would make a lot of sense. But a look at Opta stats from last season's Premier League shows just why Brendan Rodgers would actually be wise to keep the midfielder on Merseyside this term.

Having scored 101 goals last campaign, Liverpool needed no improvement going forward. Defensively, however, the 50 goals they conceded was the second-worst tally of any top-eight side.

That suggests that any player capable of providing defensive solidity is worth keeping at a time when squad depth will be vital for the Anfield club.

Lucas can do exactly that, as evidenced by his number of won tackles last season. The Brazilian also won 50 interceptions, the most of any Liverpool midfielder, while also completing 90.80% of his passes.

Of course, Lucas' lack of goals and assists suggest his abilities as a holding midfielder are somewhat limited. But as an alternative for Can, Rodgers need not look any further.

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