The Importance of Being Lucas | Opta Stats Analysis

Lucas tackling
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But that is not the only area where we miss Lucas this season. And despite all this time out he still features heavily in some of the most important statistics when it comes to the efficiency of defending and regaining the ball for Liverpool. As you can see before he got injured he won a tackle every 13.21 passes he attempted. Currently only Martin Kelly can better that winning a tackle every 11.38 passes he attempts. However, what stands out, is the fact that Lucas’s replacement, currently Jay Spearing, needs to attempt nearly 10 extra passes for every tackle he wins.

Top 5 Most Efficient LFC Players

Again when we look at ground duels Lucas is still fourth in efficiency. He won a ground duel every 5.76 passes he attempted before he got injured. Charlie Adam, who you could say tried to fill the defensive midfielders role when Jay Spearing was out wins a ground duel every 6.38 passes he attempts. Lucas however is still the top midfielder in that statistic. Again Jay Spearing does not feature in the top 5, winning a ground duel only every 10.07 passes he attempts. Only 5 other outfield Liverpool FC players who have featured prominently this season are less efficient at winning ground duels than Spearing. As a side note: I’m not bashing Jay Spearing here, merely pointing out the difference between Lucas & his replacements to get a better understanding of both Lucas’s importance and what we have been missing for most of the season.

We can also see that Lucas tops the list of players who are most efficient at keeping possession of the ball. Extremely important in the modern game. Lucas only lost possession every 5.54 passes he attempted, in context, player of the year nominee Scott Parker loses possession every 5.99 passes, and Michael Carrick only every 7.25 passes he attempts. Jay Spearing is Liverpool’s third most efficient player at keeping possession, only losing possession every 5.21 passes he attempts. It shows he is a good distributer of the ball, but probably needs to work on is reactions to situations, sensing and anticipating danger, and knowing when to leave his zone to make a tackle or get caught up in a ground duel. Something Lucas excelled at.

Lastly, and not surprisingly Daniel Agger tops the list at interceptions. He is an intelligent footballer and he makes an interception every 17.5 passes he attempts. Lucas again features heavily making an interception every 20.8 passes he attempts. A vital area, as interceptions can be the springboard to catching the opposition out of position as the ball transitions from one team to another. A quick pass in the right area, and it can lead to a dangerous counter-attack before the opposition can set themselves. Again Jay Spearing doesn’t feature in the top 5, making an interception only every 47.2 passes he attempts. Quite a difference to Lucas. This adds a little weight to my assumption that Spearing is not nearly as pro-active a type of player as Lucas is. It is, the importance of being Lucas.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.

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    • he wont fill alonso’s boots, he wears a different style. ie xabi was a pass master creating chances, lucas is a tackler stopping opposition chances. comparisons between the two is ridiculous. both central midfielders, but no where near simmilar playing styles. lucas is a beast though.

  1. Lucas is more like Mascherano and I would say he is better then him.. He became a master of the midfiled area.. He is now 15/20 M£+ player..

  2. Seriously, that is some really poor statistical analysis. I have a maths degree with stats as one of my four chosen final year modules and I can see clutching at straws maths when it is put in front of me. Yes, Lucas attempts lots of tackles. I note with interest that you don’t dare show the win percentage. Any muppet can run around kicking footballers, though Lucas generally chooses to just run into them rather than actually kick them. Either way, he gives away a lot of free kicks around our own area. And what in the world can be less relevant that the number of tackles and interceptions per pass attempted??? Alonso and Mascherano put this lad to shame. That is why he rarely made it onto the pitch when they were around. This is proved by Alonso and Mascherano being coveted and ultimately bought by Real Madrid and Barcelona. No one, and I mean no one is ever linked with showing any interest what so ever in Lucas. I wonder why that is.

  3. Also, when a player plays all his games in a row, it makes analysis of the results much harder and you need to look at other things that changed around the same time. eg Suarez being available for all 12 of Lucas’ matches, but banned for 8 of the matches when Lucas was out injured. This has a major affect, as does the difficulty of the opposition. Also, this kind of analysis requires 20 events to become statistically viable, so 12 Lucas matches is not enough to allow statistics to be used. Taking this to an extreme, it is like tossing a coin 12 times, getting 8 heads and 4 tails, then declaring that getting heads are more likely when you toss a coin.

  4. @Dunk, yea…. he’s like parasite who drags his teammates down. he’s not worthy to LFC.
    could you, everybody, please check the reruns game on your tv, and mark lucas….you will see he’s so.. rubbish.. he’s lucky to get allen along his side. did you see it ??


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