Liverpool have been playing well this season, but the lack of squad depth has come back to haunt them yet again now that their only defensive midfielder Lucas is out for two months with a knee injury. With immediate need for a defensive midfielder in the team, we believe that Liverpool should look into Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender to pug the hole.
1. Tackling & Interceptions
One of the aspects in which Lucas has been crucial for the Liverpool side has been his ability to snuff out the danger. He is not afraid of sticking his foot in and he is eighth in the league in terms of successful tackles made. When he is not on the pitch, Liverpool have tended to struggle to cope with direct runs down the middle of the park, something that was brilliantly exploited by Aston Villa in the first half of their 2-2 draw last weekend.
Lars Bender would be the ideal replacement in that regard- he has made 42 successful tackles with an accuracy of 63% in 13 appearances compared to Lucas has made 52 successful tackles with an accuracy of 43% in 19 appearances. Bender is averaging 3.6 defensive actions per game. Last season, Bender made an incredible 109 successful tackles with an accuracy of 81%, and collected just the solitary yellow card in the entire campaign, suggesting an excellent tackling technique.