It feels slightly cliché at this point, but there isn't really any getting around the fact that the win over Stoke City to open the season was a match that, in seasons past, Liverpool would have found a way to draw or lose in a spectacularly soul-crushing manner. They nearly did, of course, but a double-save at the death from Simon Mignolet saved the three points for the hosts, helping Daniel Sturridge's arrowed strike in the first half hold up en route to the victory.
Mignolet and Sturridge got the headlines, but a number of others were deserving of mention, with Kolo Toure and Iago Aspas sparkling on their debuts along with Mignolet, and a number of others--Philippe Coutinho and his vision, Jordan Henderson and his workrate, the improvements from Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique--contributing to a solid team display. Few were as consistent as Lucas, however, who's carried his preseason form into a man of the match display for Liverpool in the first home win on opening day in twelve years.
From the off it was clear that he was up for it both physically and mentally; the energetic pressing, combative and timely tackling, and sneaky-quick distribution to spring Liverpool in attack were all on display, and the most heartening aspect was that there was just no letting off. From the opening minute to the last, Lucas was dishing out regular glimpses of his pre-injury dominance with little to suggest he's headed in the opposite direction. That's a very good thing.
He won't get the goals or the assists that Daniel Sturridge will, and he probably won't provide many moments like Simon Mignolet did in preventing goals (though his goal-line clearance wasn't too bad). His work is far more mundane--he passes sideways for crying out loud--but on top form he does plenty to contribute to Liverpool's effectiveness at both ends of the pitch, just as he did in the uplifting win over Stoke on Saturday.
Video by MrBoywunder