Liverpool should look longer term than De Jong to replace Lucas

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With the news that their defensive midfield lynchpin Lucas has succumbed to yet another lengthy injury, there are rumours linking AC Milan’s Nigel de Jong to a stop-gap loan deal until the end of the season.

However, while the former Manchester City man has the requisite Premier League CV to assist Liverpool in their 17/20-rated quest to break into the top four, there are better longer term solutions available to Liverpool.

Considering 27-year-old Lucas has become prone to knee ligament injuries – although the latest one to his right is not as serious as the ruptured anterior cruciate ligament on his left suffered in Nov 2011 – Rodgers needs to look to the future.

De Jong is 29, and even if the Dutchman is tempted into jumping ship on a permanent basis, his best years as the tenacious ball-winner we witnessed in his time at the Etihad, are surely behind him.

One man often linked with a move to England is Rubin Kazan midfielder Yann M’Vila and at 23 he has a far better age profile than De Jong, though the Reds have been told to stump up £12m rather than take a loan option.

But the man who may yet be the best man to fill the Lucas void is Norwegian international Valon Berisha, at just 20-years-old.

Berisha has been mightily impressive for current club Redbull Salzburg playing the same role as the Brazilian and Liverpool’s scouts have reportedly been to watch him this month.

Rodgers has already seen the troubles in trying to transform attack-minded skipper Steven Gerrard into a deep-lying a defensive midfielder as against Stoke, Liverpool were open enough to concede three and were then blown away by Aston Villa for the first-half last time out.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.