Remember when you were a student and lack of funds dictated that every clothing purchase was a lifestyle commitment? Picture yourself back in those frugal days, to fully grasp the following analogy. Lucas Leiva is like a dear friend that's bought a truly hideous new jacket and insists on sporting it at every available opportunity. He's still your friend, still your compadre -- I mean, you just know that underneath that sartorial monstrosity your old mucker is the same as ever he was -- but that hooded, polkadot polyester sheath of awfulness has somehow, well, changed him. Nowadays, instead of basking in his reflected glow like you used to, you prefer not be seen in the cinema queue together, and you find yourself defending him constantly to others who sneer at his loss of cool and status.
It is the humble opinion of your scribbler, that Lucas can and will regain his imperious form, but this will probably not happen until Brendan Rodgers sees that Steven Gerrard is the wrong man to partner the Brazilian. I have little concern, at this juncture, if such a statement is deemed heretical. Outrage be damned. The time for anxiety about criticising sacred cows has long since passed and this a change that needs to happen.
Liverpool Football Club's central midfield pairing has yet to perform even passably in the second half of a match, appearing leggy and incapable of closing the yawning gaps into which opposition attackers have strolled at will. This is not a call for our captain to be dropped, but simply moved forward. Persistence with the current status quo will not end well. At any rate, I digress, as I am wont to do, and this topic has the makings of a far longer piece. You are forewarned.
Irrespective of his current travails, Lucas is, as ever, focused on the team and his team-mates. His pleasure at seeing the return of Luis Suarez is unqualified -- their friendship means that he is not plagued by the kind of ambivalence that tortures this scrivener when Suarez now dons the Liverbird. No, Lucas is only pleased and excited by the presence of Liverpool's best player in the starting eleven.
"Luis has just become a father again and for him to celebrate with two goals, I am very happy for him," the midfielder avowed. "He is showing again just how good he is. He is a world class player and it is so important to have players like that if you want to fight for good things this season. Hopefully he will have another fantastic season for us like he did last year. Everyone was a bit worried as there was a lot of talk during the transfer window, but I'm so glad he's still with us. Luis showed today with his performance that he is really committed to the team and to the club. He just wants to help us and we will try to help him too."
Ah, the touching sound of blind friendship. There is no judgement from Lucas, none of the grimacing and muttered obscenities on display in my living room during the last two games. If I warm to Luis Suarez again, it will be a slow begrudging process. I'll cheer his goals and acknowledge his brilliance but don't ask me to love the guy for at least a couple of seasons. Lucas, however, in his efficient way, has readily embraced the return of his amigo. He has forgiven and forgotten. After all, he knows something of transfer window uncertainty himself. Take a bow Christian Purslow.
Cantankerous and cagey sorts like myself would probably do well to adopt a similar attitude to the industrious Brazilian, when it comes to Suarez. There is no joy to be gleaned from dwelling on past misdemeanours or perceived offences, no matter how galling or rancorous they may be. 'Live in the now!' was a vacuous refrain spouted constantly by a drug-addled friend of mine in the Nineties, but he may have been on to something. I've learned of late to greedily grab any joy that presents itself. I hope Lucas Leiva and Luis Suarez provide us with a season's worth of happiness.