Date: 9th December 2010 at 8:19pm
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Following the game with Valencia I remarked to my brother that Anderson had played well and that he was looking much improved. This was a no brainer, he looked pretty good against Blackburn and was the only layer to come out of the West Ham game with some credit to his name.

So you can only imagine my shock when he replied that Lucas was better than Anderson and that Lucas had been performing since last year but it was only now that he was getting praised. I can’t profess to be an expert on Lucas, I have seen an upturn in his fortunes amongst their fans and in the media but I seriously can’t get my head around the statement. So I asked Dave Tully, editor of our sister site Live 4 Liverpool, for his opinion:


Arrival – In contrast to Anderson, Lucas was bought from Gremio for £6million, a small price compared to the amount that Manchester United paid Porto. The smaller fee didn’t necessarily dampen expectations though as he was the reigning Brazilian player of the year when he was purchased by Liverpool. Having already made his debut for Brazil, being Gremio’s captain as well as helping his team to the Copa Libertadores final, many felt that Rafa Benitez had got a bargain.

The first two seasons especially were very difficult for Lucas as he didn’t live up to expectations. The Anfield crowd got on his back and many questioned his continuing inclusion in the team. Unlike Anderson, who already had a spell in European football; with Porto, Lucas came straight from the slower pace Brazilian league, into the rough and tumble of English football. He was used to having time on the ball but now in the Premier League, he found himself rushed, miss-timing tackles and regularly misplacing passes. Added to this, Rafa had decided to convert the player from an attacking midfielder, (similar to Anderson) into a holding midfield player. It was a rocky transition which took years and has made it even more difficult for Lucas to settle in England.

Weaknesses – Unfairly touted as the replacement for Xabi Alonso in some quarters, his long range passing was nowhere near the standard of his former Spanish team-mate and he played a similar role in the team to Javier Mascherano, which frustrated many Liverpool fans. With Alberto Aquilani either injured or ill for the majority of last season, Lucas was picked alongside Mascherano on many occasions, but the similarity in both player’s games, led to very defensive team without any supply to Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres further up the field. Out of the two, Lucas was the worst tackler and passer leading many to question why he was in the side at all. He was however still in transition from a more attacking midfield role, as at his time at Gremio he had been used to making forward runs and arriving late in the box to finish passing moves rather than holding the fort in midfield. Lucas however rallied by the end of last season and was rewarded with Liverpool’s young player of the year. Time in the English football has seen him develop as a player and he was gradually getting used to the holding midfield role.

Strengths – The transformation from Lucas in 2007 to Lucas in 2010 has been quite astonishing. No longer the butt of jokes by Reds fans and used as a scapegoat for every poor Liverpool performance, he has evolved this season into becoming one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers. Much of this has to be credited to his mental strength for after years of being derided for his poor performances; he has never gone hiding on the pitch and has always looked to get on the ball. The departure of Javier Mascherano has seen the Brazilian step up to the plate as the Reds sole midfield destroyer. Not only is he tackling better and intercepting opposition attacks with aplomb, his pass completion stats are exceptional, and he barely gives a stray pass to team-mates. Many of the passes are short and square, but he has begun this season to be more expansive, passing forward rather than backwards. Two man of the match performances against Chelsea and Aston Villa have seen Lucas perform a remarkable turn around in regards to popularity among Reds fans. People want Lucas and Raul Meireles to be the first choice midfield partnership now; this time last season, they wouldn’t have wanted him anywhere near the first team squad, let alone the starting eleven.

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24 responses to “A Brazilian midfield debate: Anderson or Lucas”

  1. The Fan says:

    The answer is Denilson . COYG!

  2. Chudi Onwuazor says:

    LOL get out of here mate, Denilson has the frame of an 8 year old ballerina can’t hold a candle to Anderson!

  3. R3D says:

    Lucas doesn’t have the same calibre of competition in midfield? Man U is a great team but central midfield is probably ya weak spot. Out of the current top 5 man u probably has the worst central midfield players.

    Liverpool’s central midfield may not be as great as the other clubs in the top 5. But if I was to say Liverpool’s best central pairing would be gerrard and meireles , can you honestly name me a better pairing in United?

    Fletcher and Scholes are probably your best 2 in midfield. Gerrard> Scholes and Meireles> Flecther.

    Joe Cole is about as concistent and useful as Carrick.

    Lucas is better than Anderson since he’s been more consistent BUT anderson may start to show some consistency too.

    Hargreave’s a crock (which is a shame because I highly rate him and he was invaluable to england too) and will probably play less for united than the on,loan aquilani will for liverpool.

    This list can actually go on quite a bit due to the depth of both squads as well as the number of players who can play in various roles but I shall conclude by saying Maxi has been perforimg really well as well be it the flanks or as an attacking midfielder.

    Before you go on about Man u > Liverpool , I am talkin only about central midfield. Your wingers and central defenders are easily better and the rest is up for debate.

    • Chudi Onwuazor says:

      In terms of midfield and looking at Gerrard playing off Torres.
      Who does/has Lucas have as competition? Poulsen? Previously with Masch and Xabi I could understand the arguement that he has more competition in the middle of the park but not currently.

      Anderson when fit has competed with Scholes, Carrick and Fletcher predominantly with Park and Giggs sometimes being deployed as CMs also .

      The middle of the park is oft regarded as our weakest point but that is more to do with the lack of goals/creativity rather than the quality of the players as all 3 I have named are on their day brilliant and even when they aren’t better than your average PL CM

      • R3D says:

        Gerrard playing behind torres is something that has been experiment with and has pretty much failed since gerrard just drops deep and isolates torres. 4-4-2 is where it is at for l’pool atm and thats the reason we did you a favour against chelsea.

        Definetly with the loss of Masch and Xabi our midfield isn’t as great but Poulsen and mainly Meireles aren’t bad replacements. When Gerrard comes back for the fulham game either Lucas or Meireles will have to be either dropped or moved and that will most likely be Lucas. So Lucas has to compete with Meireles and Gerrard.

        • Chudi Onwuazor says:

          Your most succesful season worked off that though, 08/09 Gerrard played behind Torres with Alonso and Masch in the middle.

          Poulsen the player nobody not even Liverpool players or fans want to see? Meireles is quality and has been putting a shift even out of position so I commend him.

        • R3D says:

          True but this season it hasn’t worked in Hodgson’s teams. One of the reasons is actually due to many teams now playing 4-5-1 which is why gerrard drops deep more now to try and win the midfield battle. Poulsen is one for the future and more potential than anything else.

    • jonathan says:

      You still need to be more specific than central midfield as Lucas has virtually never been considered as an attacking mid by either Benitez or Hodgson. So that means Gerrard, Maxi and Cole are irrelavant to Lucas’ chances in midfield. He is only used as a holding or defensive mid, so last year his only competition was Masch and often they were played together anyways. This year it is only Meireles, but he’s being used in a more advanced role so Lucas pretty much has a guaranteed spot.

      By and large, Anderson has had to compete for spots with Fletcher, Scholes and Carrick and even Giggs and Park when their often considered for more central roles. Whatever your current opinon of Carrick, given his history, he was considered an automatic choice for first team only until late last year. Fletcher was continually improving and had a terrific season last year which would’ve restricted Anderson’s chances. And Scholes… well he’s Scholes.

      Lucas has played much better and up until a couple weeks ago I would even agree he was at that exact time more valuable to his team than Anderson was for his respective one. But if Anderson keeps this up, I’m sure he’ll eclipse Lucas in the minds of most in a fairly short time.

      As a side note, Anderson and Carrick can be of great value to each other. They complemented each other very well against both Blackburn and Valencia. Carrick is very comfortable with sitting back to cover, intercept passes and give it to the next mid fielder. This allows Anderson to play further up where he belongs and does his best. In theory, Lucas could mirror Carrick in this regard if he and Anderson play together for Brazil one day. Just a thought.

  4. The Fan says:

    xD dw mate was only joking about our brazilian . Gilberto now is a worthy brazlian but we are talking about up and coming here :b.

    Though no disrespect to denilson, he harries at opponents a lot. Though Anderson is defo better, denilson’s role is more defensive. There’s already enoguh attacking midfielders at Arsenal so some defensive ones are welcome xD.

  5. Chudi Onwuazor says:

    Nah Denilson could be included in this argument but I don’t know how to class him. He is one of those players who it can look like does nothing until you check his stats at the end of the game and see his pass completion etc.

  6. jezz09 says:

    @R3D, Gerrard>Scholes: your a knob

    • Chudi Onwuazor says:

      Fuck me I didn’t even see that! Gerrard better than Scholes? Not even close, Gerrard a jack of all trades master of none, Scholes the master full stop!

  7. babiako says:

    … lukas better than anderson ? … only someone with no idea about football would believe so … a healthy anderson i am talking about … and, unfortunately, there are many people expressing themselves about football matters without knowing a b…p …

  8. Pez says:

    Anderson, he’s our midfield magician.

  9. Pez says:

    R3D Reply: “Poulsen is one for the future and more potential than anything else.”
    hahaha hes fucking 30 years old hahahahahahha
    future? he’ll be retiring soon

  10. Ben says:

    This is easy to clear up. Lucas is nowhere near as good as anderson who has always had loads of talent but never shown it (like Nani this time last year). Lucas has no obvious talent.

    Your brother is an idiot and I’m surprised u even humoured him.

    Scholes is the best midfielder of his generation and is twice the man and player gerrard has ever been. Ask zidane and probably gerrard himself.

    End of