Liverpool left without Lucas

PA Sport
Leiva Lucas
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Leiva Lucas

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will have to come up with a plan B in central midfield to fill the hole left by a season-ending injury to Lucas Leiva.

The Brazil international was on Thursday ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with an anterior cruciate ligament problem in his left knee.

Lucas and Charlie Adam were well established as the primary pairing in the Reds' engine room, starting all but one of the Reds' 13 Barclays Premier League matches - and that only because the former was suspended for the home game against Norwich.

A long-term plan may not be immediately evident but Dalglish has plenty of options in the short-term.

Ideally, he could do with captain Steven Gerrard making a swift comeback.

The England midfielder has made just five appearances this season, having had a delayed start following a groin operation in April, and has not played since October 22 because of an ankle infection.

Gerrard, however, is a vastly different player from Lucas and his return would mean the defensive responsibility being passed to Adam. No timescale has been placed on Gerrard's return so the stop-gap for the defensive midfield role may be Jay Spearing.

The 23-year-old has been used as back-up this season as, in five appearances, four starts have been in the Carling Cup but was an able deputy for Gerrard towards the end of last season.

Another option would be to move Jordan Henderson inside. The England Under-21 international would no doubt prefer to play in a more familiar position having struggled out on the right, where he has spent most of his time since joining from Sunderland in the summer.

Liverpool's recall of Jonjo Shelvey recall from Blackpool, where he had scored six goals in 10 matches for the npower Championship side, appears to be in order to provide added depth on the bench.

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