Re: LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB: You'll Never Walk Alone! (39) New Seaon KICK OFF!!
Originally Posted by zhapchit
Benitez puts faith in Lucas
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes Lucas Leiva can help fill the gap left by Xabi Alonso's departure - and the Brazilian youngster agrees.
Benitez believes Lucas has been the club's most impressive player during pre-season and the 22-year-old underlined that with a goal and an eye-catching display in Saturday's 2-1 home friendly defeat to Atletico Madrid.
The Spaniard is aware the more adventurous Alberto Aquilani, bought from Roma for £20m last Friday, is not yet ready to replace Alonso in midfield, paving the way for Lucas to make his mark.
He said: "Lucas has been best the player in pre-season. He showed why again against Atletico. He is really focused, working hard and is showing quality.
"He knows Aquilani will need time. When we decided to bring in Aquilani we knew he would be out for one month or so, so we analysed the squad and we think that with Javier Mascherano, Lucas, Steven Gerrard and Damien Plessis we have enough (strength in depth)."
For Lucas, this is a great chance to win over the Anfield fans, who dished out plenty of criticism last season, and he said: "I am always ready and now Xabi is gone I hope there will be more opportunities for me. I am just working hard in training to try to earn a position in the team. I am feeling better and hopefully it will be a good season for me."