So the Euro 2112 draw has been made. A reasonable group for England although one can never underestimate their ability to shoot themselves in the foot. Even at this early stage things look a little worrying starting with the team’s accommodation and travel arrangements? Still you never know perhaps the law of averages will kick in and we’ll see a England outfit that does itself and the nation proud on, and off, the pitch. Despite this six words spring to mind “am”, “not”, “holding” , “my”, “I” and “breath”
Meanwhile back at L4 and football can be a cruel mistress. There we were on Wednesday night buoyant on the back of a good performance to get through to semi finals of a cup competition, eleven games unbeaten and the team showing admirable optimism and desire. Just cause to think things are suddenly looking reasonable Ok? Certainly so I’d say but then what happens fate deals you the preverbal kick in the nuts and you get bought to earth with a chastening dose of reality!
Take Wednesday night and The Mancs are humbled by the mighty Crystal Palace thus ensuring that, along with Cardiff, there are two Championship clubs in the Carling Cup Semi-final draw. Great one thinks a two in three chance of drawing a team that, on paper at least and with due respect to them, we should beat to get to Wembley especially as the tie will be over two legs. What happens? We draw Manchester City! Still if we have the desire and commitment that we showed last Sunday then why not?
The second blow is more serious. On Tuesday night Lucas was stretchered off after what seemed to be a rather harmless challenge with Chelsea’s Juna Mata. However, quite often these sort of “comings together” are the worst and we now learn that Lucas is out for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament rupture.
Many may point to the fact it is fortunate that, out of all the positions in our squad, midfield has the most options. However, we appear to be a little light of options for the type of midfield Lucas is? I guess the populist term for this is the “holding midfielder” Despite this Kenny said
“He’s been playing well for us but it is part and parcel of football, I suppose. Lucas is not moping about feeling sorry for himself. We can do that, we can feel sorry for him. But we cannot feel sorry for ourselves and we have plenty of people who can have a go and won’t let us down. You saw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night there were a lot of really good performances.”
Steven Gerrard automatically springs to mind as the player who could step into the breach however he is still injured. Perhaps we could change formation and play five at the back with the full backs, Enrique and presumably Johnson, pushing up, however this isn’t going to work in every game we play. We have recalled Jonjo Shelvey from his Blackpool loan spell however, this isn’t a “like for like” in fact he’s been playing up front at Bloomfield and with some success. Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson have also been mentioned however for me everything points to Kenny using Jay Spearing in the role and why not I don’t think the player has ever let us down when he’s been playing? Yesterday Kenny also said he wouldn’t going to the market in January for a replacement which is only right, we should be giving players, such as Spearing a chance?
Finally the fact that we are taking his injury seriously underlines just how much regard Lucas is now held at Anfield. From a figure of ridicule when he first joined he has not flounced around and thrown his toys out of the pram. He has simply got his head down, worked hard at his game, improved and, as a result, proved everybody wrong. From a figure of ridicule to “Player of the Year” last season. Proof for everyone that if you exercise a little faith, patience and give players time, chances they will repay you and eventually come good? If anyone should feel justified about this it is Rafa who signed and played Lucas in the face of much opposition from fans. Where are those fans now, moving on the next poor victim? Perhaps they feel even worse when they read Lucas’ latest tweet
“I am sure I will come back stronger I will achieve everything that I dream with the LFC shirt. I am sure I’ll NEVER WALK ALONE.”
Top man and now, without any doubt, a top player