Liverpool news – Lucas praised, Meireles reaping rewards, Ayala joins Derby

Lucas praised.

Lucas Leiva won his eighth international cap for Brazil in midweek, drawing admiration from his club manager in the process.

Lucas has been one of the few Liverpool players to emerge from this season with any real credit, cementing his place in the starting-XI after several inconsistent seasons at Anfield.

“Brazil have had some fantastic players in that No. 5 shirt (Lucas wears),” Dalglish told the Daily Telegraph. “The fact that he started for Brazil tells you they must be very pleased with him as well, and the performances he has put in for us mean he has deserved it.”

The call-up richly rewarded the midfielder for a wonderful performance last weekend at Chelsea. “Last Sunday he was as good as anyone on the pitch against Chelsea,” he said.

Meireles reaping rewards.

Raul Meireles recent purple patch in front of goal owes little more than to hard work, Kenny Dalglish told

The Portuguese midfielder, who has not always found Premier League football easygoing in the context of Liverpool’s struggles, has plundered four goals in his last five games; a vital component of a Liverpool team on a four-match winning streak.

“Raul has always had the ability he has shown recently,” Dalglish said. “Maybe he has settled down a little bit and is more comfortable and confident because he’s playing well but there has been nothing drastic (tactically) for any of the players really.”

Dalglish always had faith in the former Porto man: “He’s always been a talented footballer. He’s always had what we’re seeing now, but it’s trying to get it out,” Dalglish admitted.

Ayala joins Derby.

Highly-rated young Liverpool defender Daniel Ayala has joined Derby County on loan for the rest of the season.

The 20-year-old Paraguayan Under-21 international has found first-team opportunities hard to come by at Anfield and hopes to gain valuable first-team experience before challenging for a regular place in the team next season.

The move benefits the Championship strugglers too as a relegation battle looms precariously. Nigel Clough told the Daily Mirror: “We’re pleased to bring Daniel on board for the rest of the season, especially as he has been in demand and had a number of other clubs interested in taking him.”

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