I should have known this was coming as soon as my Lucas jersey arrived in the mail just before the season.
It's the news we all dreaded but kind of suspected. Lucas has torn his quad and is out two-three months. It's deflating and frustrating, because via all reports Lucas felt something in warmups. Was that merely a twinge that letting him play turned into a major injury? We may never know, but it doesn't look good. We know how desperate Lucas must've been to play in his first league game at Anfield in eons. But that excitement has to be tampered by logic. And someone coming off a major knee reconstruction who's had to go through rehab should be handled with kid gloves. Truly frustrating.
At least this time, Liverpool are a little more equipped to deal with it. Joe Allen can be that guy, and was against City. And with Lucas still finding that match sharpness and that extra half-step that he used to have, there won't be much of a drop off if one at all. With Sahin coming in this week, Liverpool shouldn't be short on numbers either with Henderson, Gerrard, Shevley to go along with Allen.
But Allen can't play every match. Will Rodgers once again force Jay Spearing into a role he's shown he can't play? Will the newly favored Jonjo Shelvey be trusted with it? Because that could spell disaster. Will Gerrard be shifted deeper as he is with his country? We'll just have to see.
As for Lucas, it's almost back to square one. He had to build up the fitness and feel again, and now he'll have to start over. Against West Brom he looked just a touch off, and would have needed matches to correct that. But now he's going to have to do it when the team is hopefully already jelling. Will Rodgers give him enough chances in the middle of a campaign to become the player he was? Or will he be restricted to cup and European games while Rodgers doesn't want to risk league form?
It's not having the answers that is so dispiriting. But mostly we just feel awful for Lucas. He came back early which must've taken an extraordinary amount of work. He got his place back, and then lost it almost as quickly. Hopefully, by 2013, we'll have the player we came to love. And he got us to do so by working so hard. So we know he'll do that.