Liverpool will need Lucas Leiva this season - he has to stay

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Lucas Leiva, Liverpool's longest-serving current player, may have made his last appearance for the club. 

The 28-year-old has been heavily linked away from Anfield this summer, and after remaining absent from the teamsheet for the first two games of the season, speculation has amassed as to whether he will be around come September.

Lucas made 26 starts last season, but with a tactical switch back to four defenders, and a higher competition for places in midfield, he has fallen down the pecking order. 


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Rodgers has already indicated that sidelined players who want time on the pitch will leave the club this summer, with Leiva expected to be one of those heading out the door too.

Despite progressing thoughts of a squad without the Brazilian, here's why Liverpool need the his services for the time being.

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As previously mentioned, Lucas has been a first-team player for Liverpool longer than anyone else currently on the squad list. He arrived in 2007 - the same summer as Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel - just months after the club had reached another Champions League final.

The midfielder has had high and low points in his Anfield career, but in the past few seasons has solidified his place as a fan favourite and, despite injury troubles, played a huge part in their most successful Premier League campaign to date (2013/14).

His eight-year history at the club and in England can make the player worth his weight in gold at times. He knows the Reds inside out, how Rodgers operates, and has been key in helping players like Jordan Henderson develop - by shielding the defence and allowing the new captain to go forward.

That experience will mean a lot when it comes to either bolstering the ranks on the sidelines to replace injured players, change a game as a substitute or as a first-team regular in cup competitions.

Cup games

One thing's for certain, Liverpool fans won't be short of midweek action this season. And with 27 extra potential cup games to play (if the club were to reach every final) it certainly won't be easy to simultaneously challenge for a top four spot. In fact, that'd be hard without any of those cup games to worry about. 

The key with helping to ease the pressure is a bigger squad. You may remember the Jermain Defoe/Emmanuel Adebayor swap at Tottenham in their Europa League challenge two seasons ago, a typical example of where a player is used ultimately for one competition to give them time on the field whilst giving other members of the team a rest. 

Although the Reds have stacked their squad shelves high with quality produce this summer, they still need a player like Lucas to take control of the team when the time comes.

Be it against lower league opposition or a cold Thursday night in eastern Europe, having an experienced defensive-midfielder can be the difference between winning and losing, the difference Liverpool fans have seen clear as day in the past whilst Lucas has been out injured.

Impact player

Since arriving at the club, Rodgers has put a heavy focus on defensive-midfield - ensuring there are two, or even three midfielders, covering gaps through to the defence - and Lucas has been there all the way.

With the team now playing four defenders at the back, this has pulled a position away from midfield and with it has come increased competition for those remaining places.  In the last two games, Liverpool have suffered in letting too much of both Stoke City and Bournemouth attacks go without rapid recovery, but luckily without conceding a goal in the process.

The difference a player like Lucas can bring into games is often late on. Against Bournemouth for example, the team needed a tough presence in there. As John Aldridge rightly says, he's one of few players that can close down the opposition.

James Milner and Jordan Henderson, although top-drawer in their performances so far, don't provide full defensive cover, and in situations like that against the Cherries, the team needed a specialist that could come on to tighten up the midfield and protect the defence. 

The problem is Rodgers would prefer bringing a younger, faster player into the frame like Emre Can and give him more experience than a trusted senior.

Liverpool fans, do you agree? Let us know in the comments box below if you think Lucas should be kept or sold.

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Leiva Lucas
Premier League

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