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Lucas As Bellwether?

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-Before I get to the crux of this post, the news today is that Fabio Aurelio is out a month with whatever else has fallen off of him. This isn't good news, but hardly unexpected. Aurelio has always been paper mache and counting on him for any sustained string of play was just never going to work. What this means for the team is that we'll probably be seeing a lot of Glen Johnson on the left and Carragher on the right. I don't like it any more than you. The other option is Danny Wilson, who hasn't been awful but clearly isn't meant to be a long term solution as a left-back. Luckily, Liverpool only have these two Braga ties and an away date with Sunderland before Martin Kelly could return, so if there was ever a time to be short, it's probably now. There's also the chance that Daniel Agger could slide out there, which Hodgson was intent on doing. But this restricts him defensively, he's far more solid in the middle than isolated on a wing, and his distribution is much more vital from the center of the pitch. Hopefully Kenny doesn't resort to that.

-Nani is out a month after Carragher's...um, aggressive tackle let's say. Apparently Nani shunned Carra outside the dressing room and was also livid that United went on a media blackout resulting in no one complaining about it. Why it matters to Nani if anyone goes to the press to call Carragher a war criminal, I haven't slightest idea, but whatever. While Carragher should have been sent off, I still don't think he was intentionally trying to turn Nani's leg into pasta. It seemed, again, that he just missed a bouncing ball with close to the worst possible results. Whereas Rafael's tackle appeared to only have on intent, and it wasn't the ball. But I'm biased, and Nani is a weirdo regardless.

-Anyway, the point of this post: This blog has been a strange character study of my ever-changing relationship with Lucas. Last season, that word was basically a curse-word to me, as I walked around the streets in the rain muttering it under my breath. It kept me from happiness, and love, and success.

And now? I'm completely 180 on it. He's won me over. His performances just seem to get more and more assured. He may not be the defensive lynchpin that Mascherano was, but he's a better passer. He may still foul too much, but he fouls less than he did. And when he's playing well and getting  up the pitch, Liverpool seem to be better. I'm not saying the team goes as Lucas goes, but check this out. Here's his pass chart from the West Ham waste of time:

 

 by Guardian Chalkboards

 

Now here's his chart against United:

 

 by Guardian Chalkboards

More forward, more passes into the box. Liverpool was attacking better. He made the team more fluid. Now, obviously Lucas isn't responsible for the whole team's performance. And in a 4-4-2 in can be dangerous if your more holding player is firing on off into the wilderness and leaving a dodgy back four exposed. But to me when Lucas is stringing thing together and getting more forward, it generally means Liverpool is playing well.