Lucas calls for concentration

A 1-1 draw at home to Wigan on Saturday denied the Reds a fifth

successive victory and tempered talk of a top-four finish, although

they remain unbeaten in six matches. Midfielder Raul Meireles

scored his fifth goal in six games to give the Reds a first-half

lead only for Steve Gohouri to equalise midway through the second.

Liverpool stay sixth, now eight points adrift of Tottenham who hold

the final Champions League qualification berth. Lucas, who made his

100th Premier League appearance against the Latics, said their

situation needed to be put into perspective – but that still did

not prevent them from having high ambitions in the final few months

of the season. “I don’t think it would be clever on our part as a

team to talk about the top four because two months ago we were

three points off the relegation zone,” said the Brazil

international. “It is clear the team has improved and we are

playing better but we have to keep going. “In football everything

can happen but we can take each game at a time. “We should have

killed the game and got three points but we move on and we have two

important games in the Europa League now (against Sparta Prague).

“There are still a lot of things to improve but our record is not

too bad even with a draw. “We know we must keep the same level of

concentration every game to make sure we finish as high as possible

in the table.” The quick turnaround in fortunes has been achieved

since the arrival of Kenny Dalglish, who took over from Roy Hodgson

just over a month ago, and former Chelsea assistant manager Steve

Clarke, who was recruited as first-team coach. Dalglish has taken

14 points from seven Barclays Premier League matches to transform

Liverpool’s season after Hodgson had taken them dangerously close

to the bottom of the table. All the squad have spoken highly about

the influence the Liverpool legend has had on every part of their

daily working life. Lucas had been having a good season anyway but

his performances have gone up a level since the change in manager.

“We know how good he was as a player and we can see he has a lot of

knowledge about football and also Steve Clarke is helping the team

a lot,” said the 24-year-old. “It is the little advice Kenny gives

to us, he knows a lot about football and the way we have to play

and the way Liverpool played in previous seasons so we want to do

what he asks us. “Every day there is little advice and you have to

listen and take it on the pitch. “When you believe in a manager it

is really important and when he gives you advice you have to

listen. He says things to make us think about things.” Lucas’

achievement in reaching 100 Premier League appearances has

surprised even the player himself, who was derided by the majority

of fans for his first three seasons after arriving from Gremio in

the summer of 2007. “I don’t think too many Brazilians have

achieved this mark in the Premier League but hopefully there are

many games to come and I’m looking forward to playing them,” he

added. “I didn’t think I would get 20 Premier League appearances to

be honest but I am still here and improving all the time. “I am

pleased the way I am playing. I think everyone can see how I have

changed. “In my first season I was only young and a boy learning

about English football. “It is a great achievement but nothing

changes, as a player I always try to work hard and be positive. “I

am not the kind of player who likes to talk too much, I prefer to

work a lot and try to do it on the pitch. “I am really settled and

feeling comfortable on the pitch. Hopefully I will keep working and

keep improving.”