Lucas Leiva shares reasons for position change at Liverpool
By Will Butcher
Lucas Leiva has revealed the faith shown in him by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp encouraged him to move to centre-back.
The 29-year-old revealed that Klopp believes the Brazil international has the qualities to play at the heart of the defence.
“The manager has put a lot of trust in me there,” Lucas said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo,. “He thinks I have the qualities to play there. Every game I feel more comfortable and I feel more natural there.
“I’d say it’s probably my best position to play for Liverpool. Over my last 20 to 25 games for the club, I’ve played maybe 18 or 19 matches as a centre-back.
“I feel very comfortable in that role now. And when he needs someone to play in midfield he knows he can count on me there too.”
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Prior to the start of the 2016-17 campaign, Lucas was known as a holding midfielder that would often fill the space between the two centre-backs to receive a pass.
However, this season former Borussia Dortmund manager Klopp has opted to turn Lucas into a centre-back after the future of Mamadou Sakho plummeted into doubt.
Despite not being renowned for his height or strength at the back, Liverpool’s number 21 possesses a large amount of composure for a player to lineup at the heart of the defence.
However, this allows Lucas to mop up any loose balls and start attacks from deep as he sits alongside a more physical central defender in the likes of Joel Matip or Dejan Lovren.
Lucas could be set to make his 10th appearance of the season in all competitions, as the Merseyside giants host West Ham at Anfield on Sunday.
A win for Jurgen Klopp’s side could see the Reds move to within just one point of league leaders Chelsea, if the West London outfit fail to overcome West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
In other Liverpool news, Jamie Carragher has called on Klopp to start this unsung hero.