A century of goals last season made it easy to look past Lucas, as the once imperious midfielder became Liverpool's forgotten man. The things he did well, his positioning and reading of the game, his quick short passing and comfort on the ball under pressure, didn't matter so much for the kind of offensive juggernaut Liverpool had become.
Conceding a goal or three didn't matter because Liverpool could score four or five, and all of a sudden Brendan Rodgers' suggestion that his holding midfielder should be judged for his attacking qualities didn't seem completely ridiculous. For fans of a player like Lucas, a player who seemed perfectly suited to Rodgers' style when the new manager arrived, it was a bittersweet development.
In the end, though, there were goals. And there was the excitement. And it seemed, for better or worse, there was no longer a place for Lucas Leiva at Liverpool Football Club. But that was last year, and despite Rodgers' attempts to stick with Steven Gerrard in the holding role for longer than he should have, it's become clear that this season, Liverpool once again need a Lucas.
Fortunately, they still have one. On Tuesday night, handing his second league start in a row, he was successful on 10 of 12 tackles, made eight clearances, won five headers, intercepted the ball four times, and blocked a shot. That Liverpool had to pull away late in the match was thanks to him. A month ago, without him in the lineup to make that contribution, they likely would have lost.
He doesn't give you flash, and he will always have his doubters. In Emre Can the club may already have a player Rodgers sees as his long-term replacement. That doesn't change that here and now, this Liverpool side are more likely to win with him in the lineup. It doesn't change that, more than any other single player, Liverpool owe their last six points to last season's forgotten man.
Video by MrBoywunder