Lucas: Kenny key to Reds stability

The Scot has overseen such a remarkable turnaround in fortunes in

such a short period there can be little argument against the man

rated the club’s greatest player being given the job on a long-term

basis. There is no doubt in the mind of Lucas it will happen sooner

rather than later, with the Brazil international admitting the

whole squad are keen to continue working with the 60-year-old to

continue their progress. “The way he came to the club and the way

he changed a lot, it is just a matter of time (before) he will

agree his new deal,” said the 24-year-old, who has been the club’s

most consistent performer this season. “As players we just have to

hope he will be here next year with us. We will try to win the next

five games, if we do that we will be helping him as well. “Kenny

and Steve Clarke (the former Chelsea assistant who arrived as coach

just after Dalglish) have done really well. “They have changed the

principles of the training sessions with Sammy Lee, who has been

here a few years already. “The way they have changed things, giving

all the team confidence, is really important. “Kenny is the key to

keeping everyone together and keep the confidence of everyone.”

Clarke’s influence should not be underestimated, but it appears

changes elsewhere have had as much to do with the upturn in results

as the work being done on the pitches at Melwood. Roy Hodgson’s

ill-fated six-month spell in charge was among the worst fans can

remember, with poor performances and an atmosphere of unrest and

unhappiness among the squad. Fenway Sports Group’s purchase of the

club in October ended the dysfunctional tenure of Tom Hicks and

George Gillett, and the renewed hope it brought briefly impacted on

results. But the downward spiral soon returned and it was not

until, after nine defeats in 20 Premier League matches, Hodgson was

replaced by Dalglish, that the transformation began. Lucas feels it

was not necessarily the tactical approach but a personal one which

prompted the turnaround. “One of the things I really like about

Kenny is he treats everyone the same,” he said. “It doesn’t matter

if you are young or a senior player, everyone has the same

importance in the club and it gives everyone a big lift. “We are

together, more united. It is difficult to explain, but I feel the

dressing room is much better now than it was before. “We didn’t

have before the atmosphere that we have now in the dressing room.

“The relationship is not just professional, we have become more

friends than before and that’s helped a lot on the pitch. “When you

like your team-mates you try to help them a lot and that’s that we

are doing. The spirit has been really good. “All the players are

really looking forward to the future. The only way we will change

things is if we are together.” Lucas, unlike many of his

team-mates, was having a good campaign even before the change of

manager, but feels he has benefited from the input of Dalglish. “I

am really happy with the way I am playing this season,” he said. “A

few players left and I had to take the responsibility more than

previous seasons and I think that is why I am enjoying my football.

“Kenny has been really important for me because he’s given me a lot

of confidence. “He’s a manager that doesn’t say a lot but when he

does it’s spot-on. “I just have to keep going and I still have a

lot of things to improve and the only way to keep the same level is

to work hard.” Lucas will anchor the midfield against Birmingham at

Anfield tomorrow as the Reds continue their bid to catch

fifth-placed Tottenham. “We know how important it is to play

European competition next season and we are trying really hard to

get it,” he added. “Birmingham are a very difficult team, they beat

Arsenal in the Carling Cup and I don’t think people expected that,

but it showed they have quality players and a good squad.”

Meanwhile, the club have refused to comment on reports they have

lined up a record-breaking £25million-a-year kit deal with

Warrior, a subsidiary of New Balance, to begin in the 2012-13

season.