Lucas faces six months out to plunge Liverpool into midfield crisis

 

Liverpool fear Lucas Leiva will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Brazilian midfielder, one of his club's best performers this year, was carried off on a stretcher during the 2-0 Carling Cup win at Chelsea on Tuesday night.

Lucas underwent a scan yesterday at 1pm, and although the results will not be known until today, Liverpool fear the worst. The player himself was said to be pessimistic as he returned to Liverpool on crutches. The likely prognosis for a serious knee-ligament injury would be a six-month absence.

With 20 minutes remaining of Tuesday night's game at Stamford Bridge, Lucas collided with Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata. He went down clutching his left knee and was carried off. "I will have the scan to see how bad is [sic] my injury," he wrote on Twitter immediately afterwards. "Just send positives [sic] energy and I hope won't be too bad."

It would be a sorely felt absence for Liverpool if they did lose Lucas for an extended period. He has been an influential playing alongside Charlie Adam in the centre of the park. His defensive anticipation and swift, precise distribution have helped Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool smother opposition attacks and initiate their own.

Lucas was the obvious man of the match in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City, nullifying the threats of David Silva and Yaya Touré. "Joe Hart was good for them but Lucas was the best player on the pitch, he was amazing," said team-mate Jose Enrique afterwards. "He is playing really well with Charlie [Adam], who is scoring some important goals for us this season."

Last night Lucas was comfortably leading the voting on Liverpool's website to be their Player of the Month for November. The 24-year-old has started 12 of Liverpool's 13 Premier League games this season, and three of their four in the Carling Cup; no outfield player has played more across the two competitions. Without Lucas, youngster Jay Spearing, who has not started in the league this season, is likely to have to be promoted to partner Adam.

Steven Gerrard could also play alongside Adam in midfield but the 31-year-old is currently out with an ankle infection. He has been missing for more than one month, having returned in September after a six-month absence with a recurring groin injury.

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