Lucas hails Alonso influence
The Brazil international forged his reputation for Gremio as a someone who used to get forward a lot but when then Reds manager Rafael Benitez signed him in 2007 he began to mould him into a different role. Lucas, whose early years at Anfield came in for enormous criticism, found himself behind Alonso and then Javier Mascherano in the central midfield pecking order but since both have departed he has assumed the mantle of defensive linchpin for his club and country. And having watched Alonso at close quarters for a number of seasons the Brazilian is still trying to learn from the Spaniard now he is at Real Madrid. "I've changed in all ways. Everyone knows I used to play further forward on the pitch," the 24-year-old told liverpoolfc.tv. "I had to adapt to a new style of game, a new pace, more physical. I think I've adapted well and I'm really enjoying my role in the team. "Xabi Alonso is a player I always watch and try to learn from. "I had a few years with him here and I could see how good he was. Xabi would be my choice (as role model) at the moment. "But Sergio Busquets (Barcelona and Spain midfielder) is a player who is really good. "Of course he has players around him who always help him and always make the simple pass. People can see how good he is."