Club Focus – Liverpool – After big January for strikers attention shifts to other areas of the squad

Big-money January signings Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll have been the main topic of conversation on Merseyside in recent weeks. From the moment the duo stepped in to Anfield, they were always going to grab the headlines. And the presence of the star strikers, coupled with Liverpool’s resurgence under Kenny Dalglish means that former Kop idol Fernando Torres has finally been forgotten. Following the hype however, other key members of the team are finally beginning to grab the attention again. This week, the focus seems to have shifted to the midfielders.

The ever-improving Lucas Leiva was named in the Brazil squad to face Scotland at the weekend and he put in a solid performance as the South Americans emerged victorious with a 2-0 win. Lucas’ first season at Anfield saw the youngster criticised by several supporters, yet he now finds himself very much a part of one of the best national teams in the world and a solid performer at club level. This week, Lucas has been speaking about his future and the midfielder has admitted he would like to stay at Liverpool.

A few years ago, fans would have mocked and jeered Lucas for making such a statement. Now though, many would argue that the Brazilian is a key member of the Liverpool squad. Lucas has been one of the Reds’ more consistent players over the last couple of years and has grown into the defensive midfield role. Although not world-class just yet, the 24-year-old has certainly improved over the years and is learning every week. It would be surprising to see him leave Liverpool any time soon.

Meanwhile, another Reds midfielder is hoping to give the side a boost. Skipper Steven Gerrard, who has been out for a few weeks following surgery, says that he could return to face former boss Roy Hodgson when Liverpool meet West Brom at the weekend. Dalglish’s side could have done with Gerrard in the Europa League where they crashed out against Braga. However, his return would certainly lift the Reds, who are looking to push for a top-five finish in the Premier League.

Finally, Italian midfield maestro Alberto Aquilani, who is currently on loan at Juventus, has admitted he does not know whether he will return to Anfield in the summer. Aquilani, who helped Italy beat Slovenia at the weekend, was temporarily shipped out of Liverpool by Hodgson, but his future is now up for discussion. Juventus are reportedly unwilling to meet Liverpool’s valuation for the player and the Reds do not want to sell on the cheap. Therefore, the former Roma star could be heading back to his parent club. Based on comments on Liverpool fan sites, supporters would be quite happy to give him a second chance at Anfield.

Fans will have to wait until the weekend before the Reds are in action again, however with Lucas determined to stay at Anfield, Gerrard ready to return from injury and Aquilani reportedly on his way back to Liverpool in the summer, things are looking healthier for the Reds in midfield, just as improvements in the striking department have given everyone a lift.

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