Lucas - Gerrard better than Kaka
Brazilian compares compatriot to Reds skipper
By Jamie Casey. Last Updated: March 2, 2010 5:44pm
Gerrard and Kaka in 2005
Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva rates Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard higher than his compatriot Kaka.
Lucas, who has been capped four times by his country, has been a mainstay in the centre of Rafa Benitez's midfield at Anfield this season, with Gerrard operating in an advanced role ahead of him.
Real Madrid forward Kaka, meanwhile, is beginning to find the kind of form which prompted the Bernabeu club to pay £59million for his services from AC Milan last summer.
Reds captain Gerrard, who has also played down the entire right flank in his Liverpool career, has struggled to live up to his expected level this season but having played with both players, Lucas is in no doubt who is the more complete player.
"There are similarities with Kaka and Stevie but Stevie makes more of a contribution all over the pitch," said the 23-year-old when comparing Gerrard to his compatriot.
"Stevie is more complete in that sense because he can attack but also defend just as well. This is probably because Stevie has experience playing in a number of positions earlier in his career."
Lucas added in LFC Weekly: "Even now, he is so good, he could probably play anywhere."
Lucas has become used to criticism from sections of the Anfield faithful since his 2007 move from Gremio, but he remains one of just three Liverpool players to be used in every Premier League game this season.
With the others being Dirk Kuyt and Pepe Reina, that testament suggests he is doing something right in the eyes of boss Benitez, but Lucas admits personal achievements come behind the team's.
"Since I have been at Liverpool there have been quite a few knocks," he said of the criticism.
"This season I have played more games and that has pleased me. But it isn't about me, it's about the club doing well.
"Winning the league isn't possible so we need to finish in the top four. That is more important than any personal statistics or achievements I have made.
"This year has been really difficult for the team but we have improved a lot in the last 10 games, especially defensively.
"It is clear we have not scored enough but we have become difficult to beat again.
"Over the next month we have quite a lot of home games against teams from the bottom half of the league, while our rivals for fourth have more difficult fixtures on paper.
"Maybe this will help us out."
Liverpool have conceded just two goals in their last nine outings as they look to recapture some of the solid defensive form which was evident throughout last season's runners-up finish.
With keeper Reina proving the side's most consistent performer this term, he is delighted to see the men in front of him finally begin to find some form.
"There is nothing easy in the Premier League and we have to carry on with the same shape," said Reina, who made a breathtaking stoppage-time save to deny Chris Samba an equaliser in Sunday's 2-1 win over Blackburn.
"I think we are a stronger defensive unit and we can do better things now. It's a long race but there are a few games to play and nothing will be decided until the last fixture."
The win over Rovers saw the return to the starting line up of Fernando Torres, who sealed the comeback with the winning goal after Keith Andrews had cancelled out Gerrard's opener.
The return to the scoresheet of Liverpool's deadly duo has Reds fans feeling optimistic of a fourth place finish this term, and Reina admits having the two in the same side makes a huge difference.
"That is the difference between us and any other side," he said of Torres and Gerrard's partnership.
"We have them and they are world-class players. As long as we have them it will be absolutely brilliant.
"It's very important to have Fernando back. It's not just his goals. His presence worries the opposition and this allows space for Stevie, Yossi Benayoun and, as you saw against Blackburn, Maxi Rodriguez (who set up Torres' goal)."