#21 Lucas Leiva: C/DM 26
Lucas is one of my favorite players. His heart is enormous. He loves the game and he loves LFC. In the long run I think he’ll prove to be one of our best players if he can stay healthy. This season it was obvious Lucas had lost a little edge. He was more careful, a little slower, and at times tentative. His passing was not as good as in the past. I don’t think any of this is physical though. I think that even though Lucas has played in the PL for a while, being out for so long with two bad injuries, he lost a little crispness in the mental game. When a player loses a lot of time it’s normal that actions, honed by playing regularly, become less instinctive. That makes the player “react” more than “act”. In other words, they follow the game: they don’t command the game. In his position, he must be a field commander and control the game. You could see he did that well in some games but looked a little slower in others. That said, I fully expect him to return to his best and continue to improve after a healthy summer of workouts. And I know he will put in the time and effort to do everything he can. He always has so why would I believe otherwise.
Verdict: Extend him. Keep him in Liverpool red until he retires.
#24 Joe Allen: C/DM 23
Joe started the campaign looking like a bargain. Brendan Rodgers called him LFC’s Xavi: and he played like it too. I’m not sure when his injury became a factor but he certainly didn’t maintain that form for the whole season. It’s up to the team to figure out what happened: if it was mental or physical fatigue or injury related. If we get the Joe back that was here at the beginning of the season we’ll have one of the best midfielders in the PL. It’s too early and I’m too outside the box to know what’s going on though. I truly enjoy watching this young man play though. He can see the field well, maintains possession very well, can pass and has a decent shot on him. He has a great football mind and sees plays as they develop. He’s the guy who makes the pass before the assist, so he doesn’t get too much credit, but he’s class when on his game.
Verdict: keep him and help him become the player he can be