John Aldridge explains how Liverpool can accommodate Lucas Leiva for potential return to side

Lucas Leiva

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge would like to see Lucas Leiva return.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge has said in the Liverpool Echo that midfielder Lucas Leiva should return to the fold for the side's trip to Arsenal on Monday. 

Lucas has not been part of the matchday squad for the opening two games of the season, which has seen the Reds take maximum points and keep two clean sheets. 

But Aldridge would like to see the Brazilian back in the side, and wrote in his Liverpool Echo column that Liverpool could have done with him in the squad for the win over Bournemouth on Monday night. 

He said: "I’d play Lucas and I think we could have done with him at times against Bournemouth when we looked a little bit open and things got a bit tetchy. He’s our only player for that situation. Henderson doesn’t do it, Milner doesn’t do it, Allen does it a little bit."

One player he doesn't mention here is Emre Can who has been earmarked to play the holding midfield role for the Reds this season but seemed to struggle when he was introduced for Jordan Henderson after the Liverpool skipper was withdrawn because of a foot injury. 

Lucas has been told he could leave the club this summer with the Liverpool Echo reporting that an offer of £8 million could see the 28-year-old end his eight year association with Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers is said to be relaxed about the midfield options, leaving the question as to how he'd fit into the current set-up, and Aldridge feels he has the answer.

He added: "Milner could then be moved out to the right for the game to make us more solid.

"I know he’s been promised that he’ll play centrally but sometimes the manager has to say ‘just take one for the team’ and there's nothing to stop him going back to the centre the following week."

There is the option of playing a genuine central midfield three with energy either side of the holding player and ensuring the Reds stay compact on their visit to the Emirates Stadium, where they will look to avenge a 4-1 defeat from April. By playing that it will be much like the approach the Reds adopted against Stoke City when James Milner and Jordan Henderson were pushed further forward and occupied wider areas at times.

A lot could depend on the fitness of Henderson as to whether Lucas will get an opportunity against Arsenal, but given that the Reds have delivered two wins from their opening two games, along with two clean sheets, Rodgers may look to keep as much of the same XI starting the game for their biggest test of the season so far. 

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