The Brazilian has been touted as a solution to Liverpool’s centre-back problems. Could he emulate the Barcelona man and make the transition?
Liverpool fans will remember Javier Mascherano very well – and still hold a great affinity with the Argentine.
If the midfielder ever returned to Anfield, it would be the stuff of dreams. The Barcelona man stands out in recent history on Merseyside for being a tough-tackling, world-class defensive midfielder.
But, since leaving Liverpool, Mascherano has been used a little differently by Barca… He’s been turned into a centre-back.
And that’s where Mascherano becomes relevant again for the Reds – as an example to one of their current players.
Indeed, after starring in the Capital One Cup final, Lucas Leiva’s ability to play centre-back was lauded by former striker John Aldridge:
“He’s an option now at centre-back, for sure. He might just have added years onto his Reds career,” he is quoted as writing in the Liverpool Echo by the Daily Mirror.
“We have four senior centre-backs and they’re all much of a muchness. What Lucas does is he reads the game, he talks and leads, and he can play the ball out from the back too.
“He was brilliant winning headers and judging the play in his own penalty area – he reminded me of Carra at times, and that’s high praise indeed!”
Aldridge is spot on. If playing an intelligent midfielder who reads the game well at centre-back is good enough for Mascherano and Barcelona, why not Lucas at Liverpool?
Suddenly, the Reds’ back line could take on a new level of promise. Jamie Carragher said Liverpool did well in spite of their centre-back injury woes against Manchester City. In truth, however, Sergio Aguero would probably have had a field day against Dejan Lovren.
Mamadou Sakho has his off days, while Martin Skrtel’s performances have dipped this season, too. True, Joel Matip is coming to Anfield next term and Kolo Toure can still provide cover.
But Lucas was so good against Manchester City – you just have to wonder how solid he could become with a decent amount of game time under his belt in defence. Could the Brazilian have an exciting future ahead of him at centre-back?