Liverpool legend Jan Molby assesses Lucas Leiva's centre-back credentials

Lucas Leiva

Lucas filled in at the heart of defence during the midweek FA Cup tie against West Ham.

Liverpool legend Jan Molby has said that one of the positives to come out of the FA Cup heartbreak at West Ham in midweek was the performance of Lucas Leiva at centre-back, and the Dane seems open to seeing the Brazilian take up the role again in the future.

Lucas, whose natural role is as a defensive midfielder, lined up alongside Tiago Ilori as Klopp gave his available centre-backs in Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho a rest, and Lucas - who captained the Reds on Wednesday night - put in a commanding performance, though did give away a free-kick which led to the winner for the Hammers.

Writing in his Liverpool Echo column, Molby said: "It's not a long term solution by any means, but the Brazilian showed that if he is needed to step in any time soon, he is more than capable.

"What he is good at is reading the game, being tactically aware and sweeping up dangerous situations.

"I think Liverpool are playing what I would call 'emotional football' at the moment, and so having a calm head at the back is no bad thing. Lucas cruised through that game against West Ham, and was very unfortunate with the last foul I felt.

"We haven't yet found a reliable, stable central defensive partnership.

"Could Lucas be the answer? Stranger things have happened."

One thing that Liverpool's back line has lacked throughout the season is leadership and Lucas certainly didn't shy away from that particular task at the Boleyn Ground. He was constantly guiding Tiago Ilori through the game, barking commands at those in front of him and wasn't taking a backward step - the kind of aggression that has been missing from Liverpool this season as some have found them to be 'too nice'.

It would not be uncommon for a midfielder who is shorter in stature than a regular centre-back to operate in that position. 

Barcelona are a classic example with Javier Mascherano while some have praised a few of the performances from Daley Blind for Manchester United.

It's not as if it's an alien job for Lucas either having performed so well at the back in the League Cup semi-final against Stoke alongside Kolo Toure, and has been asked to drop into the position in the latter stages of games since Jurgen Klopp took over at the club.

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