A convincing home victory over Everton has Liverpool top four favourites again as they enter into the final stretch of the season, and across the board it has the players feeling confident of what comes next, especially given it wasn’t the easiest match for some of the players.
Coming off the international break, a number of the club’s stars had been busy with their national teams. The break ended with Adam Lallana injured and Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino arriving late back from South America. According to Lucas Leiva, it meant overcoming more than just their opponent on the day.
“It was a big game for us, a derby at home,” Lucas told the club’s official website. “It’s always special—and even more when we win. We had a very good game in difficult circumstances, because we had a lot of players coming back late with a little bit of jet-lag.
“Fair play to Phil, Roberto, and Sadio—they were outstanding. We only really had a day to prepare for the game, but we all knew the importance of winning the derby and climbing up the table to fight for the top four. We know how much it means.”
While some of Liverpool’s returning stars were dealing with having played a lot of minutes and done a lot of flying over the break, tiredness was an issue for Lucas as well, with the defensive specialist admitting he could feel it in his legs towards the end of the match.
Having most often filled in at the back this season, a midfield role on Saturday meant more running for the Brazilian, and though he might have been tired by the end of it, it was a well earned tiredness as the veteran put in one of the day’s best performances and was key to the 3-1 victory.
“I’ve been playing a lot at the back this season and not many times in midfield,” he noted. “But it was an opportunity for me and as a whole, I think it was quite good. Of course, you feel the intensity a little bit towards the end of the game. But that’s part of the game.”