Jurgen Klopp says this Liverpool player deserved his chance after Augsburg win

J├╝rgen Klopp

The German manager praised Lucas Leiva for stepping up in an unfamiliar centre-back role on Thursday night.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told the club's official website that he is pleased for Lucas Leiva after the Brazilian midfielder helped the Reds keep a clean sheet whilst playing in an unfamiliar centre-back role against Augsburg.

James Milner's penalty was enough to send Klopp's side through to the last 16 of the Europa League with a 1-0 victory at Anfield after a 0-0 draw in Germany in the first leg last week.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager elected to restore Lucas to the team but push him back into central defence in place of Kolo Toure for the crucial tie.

He explained his reasoning for the tactical decision to the club's website, saying: "I knew we had to play more football from the last line; Kolo has a lot of quality and skills but the first one is not that he always wants to play.

"Against deep defending we needed in nearly all positions a player who wants to play a pass. Not the last pass from the last line but with passing skills. That was one thing. The other thing was that Kolo did really well and played great for us but has a lot of games now in his legs.

"Lucas was waiting and everybody could see he played this role really well. I’m really pleased for him. It’s not too easy for Lucas when he doesn’t play, he’s a different person! Everything is OK but it’s not easy for him to enjoy life when he’s not playing. So he deserved this game and I’m really pleased for him."

Lucas said earlier this week that he was desperate to earn a place in Klopp's side for the second half of the European tie in order to stake a claim to play in the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley on Sunday.

His manager was clearly impressed with how he took on an unfamiliar role, and after missing out in the 6-0 thrashing of Aston Villa and last week's first leg, he may well have forced himself into contention to play a big part in the showpiece event at the weekend.

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