Lucas Leiva says Andy Carroll must be given time at Liverpool

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva insists it is unfair to heap unrealistic expectations on club record signing Andy Carroll.

The £35m January arrival from Newcastle has made just two substitute appearances, totalling 49 minutes, in the last week having finally recovered from a thigh injury which has sidelined him since December 28.

Already in those short spells the 22-year-old has given a glimpse of what he can offer Liverpool in the future, with his aerial power and hold-up play something the team have been lacking for several seasons.

But Lucas believes people should not expect Carroll to come in and improve Liverpool's fortunes overnight, even though it was he who provided the change of gear when he came on in the second half of the 1-0 Europa League last-16 first leg defeat in Braga.

"Andy won every single ball in the air and that gave us a chance to step up," said the Brazil midfielder.

"He provides another option because as well as being able to play on the ground we have a target man who can hold the ball and score goals.

"We are happy with what he did against Braga but he has been out for a few months and it would be unfair to put any pressure on him."

Lucas was frustrated by the result in Portugal which ended their 12-match unbeaten run in Europe this season but is confident they will turn it around next Thursday.

"We are disappointed with the result but I think we can change it at Anfield," he added.

"I think we knew it would be a difficult game because Braga beat Arsenal at home as well.

"We couldn't hold the ball as we would like and we were maybe defending more but aside from the penalty (for the goal) they did not have many clear-cut chances.

"We had chances to score but unfortunately we didn't. Now at Anfield we have to make sure we score more goals and get through to the next round."



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