Liverpool transfers: Jamie Carragher wants Inter Milan target to stay
Jamie Carragher underlines Lucas Leiva's importance to Liverpool
Jamie Carragher says Liverpool can’t afford to lose Lucas Leiva in the January transfer window.
The Brazil international has been linked with a move to Inter Milan, who have already snapped up Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski and former Reds target Xherdan Shaqiri this month.
Liverpool are unbeaten in eight games in all competitions after manager Brendan Rodgers restored the popular 28-year-old midfielder to his Reds starting line-up in December.
If you look at the stats, the influence he has made has been noticeable to say the least
Lucas’s former team-mate, Carragher, believes it is vital the 18-time English champions keep the South American, adding that the midfielder has transformed the Liverpool side in recent weeks.
Carragher told Sky Sports: “He has had a big effect on the team and he’s got to stay there. There was talk of Inter Milan making a bid, or other clubs looking at him and I’m not sure how long he’s got left on his contract.
“He’s not only got to stay at the club but he’s also got to stay in the team because, at this moment, they are getting victories on the back of his performances.
“If we go back to Liverpool’s defeat at Crystal Palace, where we were really critical of them, we said things had to change.
“Liverpool are a different team this season, Steven Gerrard is the playmaker. They needed to get someone in midfield who could shield that defence, and from that day, in the following 10 league games, Lucas has been brought in.
“If you look at the stats, the influence he has made has been noticeable to say the least. The one game that stands out is the Manchester United game, not because of the 3-0 defeat but because it was the one game Lucas didn’t play. Brendan Rodgers made a few changes and brought his technical players back into the team.
“Gerrard is the playmaker and Lucas is completely different. He is a destructor in front of the defence and that’s what Liverpool needed.”
The former Gremio midfielder has made seven of his 12 Premier League appearances over the past month and a half, slotting into a holding role in the Liverpool side.
Lucas signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool in April 2013 before falling out-of-favour under Rodgers, prompting reported interest from Napoli boss Rafael Benitez.