Liverpool's Lucas hopes to keep captain's armband after Europa League victory

30 July 2010 02:43
Liverpool midfielder Lucas hopes to have laid down a marker after captaining the team to a comfortable season-opening Europa League victory on Thursday night.

The Reds were pressed into action with an inexperienced side 17 days before their Barclays Premier League campaign begins after last season's seventh-placed finish left them needing to qualify for Europe's second-tier competition.

Heads, you win: Lucas captained Liverpool in their Europa League victory

With several World Cup players having only recently returned to training, and others still on holiday, manager Roy Hodgson chose to travel to face Macedonian side FK Rabotnicki in Skopje with a youthful squad. 

Lucas was one of just a handful of senior players to feature and, inthe absence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, wore the captain'sarmband.

And, after a comfortable 2-0 victory, the Brazilian wants to keep it for the second leg of the third round qualifier next week.

Lucas said: 'It is a really good achievement for me. I am reallyproud, really happy, but the most important thing was the win.

' I know there are a lot of senior players in front of me but I hope I did a really good job and hopefully I will keep it.

'We are really pleased. It is our first win of the season and it wasan important game. 'We got two away goals against a difficult team, sowe have started the right way. 'Hopefully we will keep the same for thenext match.'

David Ngog scored both goals as Liverpool eased to victory with few alarms. Lucas played alongside homegrown youngster Jay Spearing with Alberto Aquilani playing in a more advanced role behind lone striker Ngog.

With the likes of Gerrard, Joe Cole and Javier Mascherano - although the latter has expressed a desire to leave - training back on Merseyside, Lucas feels competition for midfield places is strong.

'Jay was fantastic and Alberto is getting the fitness back,' Lucas said. 'This is good for the team, this is good for the season.; When you have good competition with good players it will always be good for the team.

Taking his chance: Spearing is keen to impress new boss Hodgson

For Spearing the tie offers an early opportunity to impress new manager Hodgson.

The21-year-old Wirral-born player briefly broke into Rafael Benitez'sfirst team last season but ended the campaign on loan at Leicester.

Spearingsaid: 'It's a massive season for me, with a new manager I've got to tryto impress. 'It was a chance for me and the other young lads, (David)Amoo and (Martin) Kelly, to show the boss what we are capable of. 'I'vegot to show him I'm capable of sticking around.'

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Source: Daily_Mail