Liverpool will be without the services of Lucas Leiva for their upcoming fixtures, after he sustained a thigh injury in the Reds' recent 0-0 draw with Everton. This injury saw the Brazilian miss the Reds' hotly contested clash with Tottenham at Anfield. The hosts were notably weaker in defense against Spurs; perhaps a direct consequence of his absence.
Lucas has been a key performer for the Merseyside outfit throughout their recent unbeaten streak; a period spanning nine league games. He has been outstanding since returning to the team as the holding-midfielder in Brendan Rodgers' new found 3-5-2 system, providing the perfect protection for the club's three-man defense.
|Position||Team||Appearances||Tackles per Game||Minutes Played|
|Pablo Zabaleta||DF||Man City||18||3.72||1,596|
|Martin Kelly||DF||C. Palace||22||3.59||1,853|
The Brazilian midfielder has quickly emerged as the Premier League leader in one key defensive area - tackles made per game. Based on this statistic he has been more prolific than Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne and - widely regarded as the top flight's best defensive midfielder - Chelsea's Nemanja Matic, although both trail closely behind.
Lucas had allegedly been a target for Inter Milan in the January transfer window but Rodgers made it clear that he wanted to keep him, according to a report from Sky Sports. It's fair to say the decision has paid off, especially considering the only Premier League defeat they have suffered in the last two months - 3-0 vs Manchester United in December - came when the Brazilian was not in the team.