Brendan Rodgers comments on Lucas Leiva's role, and defensive midfielders

Lucas's importance to the Liverpool side has grown as the season has gone on.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has spoken highly of the contribution that Lucas Leiva has made since returning to the side this season. 

The Brazilan's role in the side has become more important in the Reds' upturn in form in the past month or two, which was embodied by his role in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea midweek.

Rodgers told the Liverpool website: "Lots of players here that weren't playing when I came in, or in my time here, by showing the level in training and the commitment and focus, have played their way into the team.

"Lucas is a prime example of that - someone who was out of the team, probably more last year because of the set-up, the nature of our set-up, with Steven [Gerrard] in the co-ordinating role from behind, organising the game.

"I'm not one that likes to play with two holding players - I prefer one player. I think sometimes if you play with two players in holding midfield they can get in the way of each other."

There have been links with a move to Serie A side Inter Milan for the 28-year-old Brazilian but given his recent performances, it would represent an incredibly odd move on the part of the club to let him go.

To a lot of fans he is a favourite, especially given his recent antics in celebrating Rickie Lambert's goal in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park last weekend. 

With the Gerrard experiment in a deeper role seemingly over, it would seem that Lucas's value going forward, especially with the Liverpool skipper's departure at the end of the season, has taken on even more importance.

If Liverpool continue with their current system, then Lucas and Jordan Henderson in the middle is going to be a big part of the way the Reds operate going forward. 

It also looks like one area of the squad that won't be addressed in the summer going forward, as Rodgers is likely to look for more of an enforcing type of midfielder than a defensive one. Joe Allen could fill the role if the side needed to rotate, as could Emre Can. 

As it stands, Lucas seems to be doing a lot of the dirty work, and allowing the more creative players ahead of him to shine.

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