Lucas a key player for Reds - Hodgson

09 November 2010 05:13
iverpool boss Roy Hodgson has backed his much-criticised summer signings to come good - and outlined Lucas a key performer for the Reds.

The Brazil international was one of the club's most derided players of recent seasons after suffering a couple of years of unfair criticism.

However Lucas, still only 23, has grown in stature in a difficult campaign and put in a man-of-the-match performance in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Premier League leaders Chelsea.

The former Gremio midfielder, harshly compared to Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano - both of whom have now left the club - is starting to put in consistently good displays.

It was expected the arrival of the experienced Christian Poulsen from Juventus would restrict his first-team appearances but the opposite has been true.

Hodgson admits the 30-year-old Dane, whose substitution in last week's Europa League win over Napoli was greeted with ironic cheers, has struggled to adapt after moving from Serie A.

But he believes he and his other summer signings Joe Cole, whose Liverpool career has been interrupted by suspension and injury, and Raul Meireles will play key roles this season.

"Lucas is a young player and I have to keep being reminded he is not that old and does not have that much experience," said the Reds boss.

"People clearly marked my card as regards to many players and when I came I knew there was a prejudice against him.

"I have got to say I don't see what people really found to criticise in him.

"I can only judge as I find and I find him very hard working, a very diligent player who works hard on his understanding of the game and team performances.

"Christian Poulsen, who has had a bad start to the season, is to some extent also a victim of prejudice at the moment.

"I am convinced in both of these players we have really useful players who will serve us to great effect for the rest of the season.

"Maybe Christian will have to go through a bit of what Lucas went through but I know the players have the quality we are looking for and I know they are going to help us win matches.

"Raul is a good footballer and was very good in setting up the second goal for Fernando Torres against Chelsea and I think we will get a lot of use out of him.

"I am quite happy players like him don't necessarily get put totally under the microscope from the day they arrive because even coming from a top team like Porto it takes time to settle.

"Every player who comes here has to go through that adaptation process."

Source: Team_Talk