“Fact Or Fiction” is a series that will be run every Friday. In this series, an assertion will be made regarding an impacting topic in the Premier League. EPL Talk writers Matt Hackenmiller and Earl Reed each offer their views on whether the statement is “Fact or Fiction.”
Fact or Fiction: With the loss of Lucas for the season, Liverpool’s chances of European football are finished.
MH: Fact. Lucas was just coming into his own as the best holding midfielder in England when he suffered a season ending knee injury. But the loss of Lucas won’t be the only reason that Liverpool will miss out on Europe. The summer transfer signings of Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson have struggled to find a foothold in the starting eleven. With an inconsistent line up, the club has had a difficult time finding the back of the net so far this season. Liverpool has also been very inconsistent this season. They played well in a victory at Stamford Bridge, and then the Reds struggled against Norwich and Swansea. Because of this, even with a healthy Lucas, Europe still probably would be out of reach for Liverpool.
ER: Fiction. The Brazilian has come into his own in the last two years for Liverpool, and his boots will be tough ones to fill for Kenny Dalglish for sure. But I don’t think the quality from 3-7 is all that great in the Premier League this season. After watching the crisis of confidence (and attrition) strike Manchester United yesterday in Basel, you could even argue that the Red Devils are not a cinch for the Top 4. I think Liverpool will certainly finish in a Europa League position, if not win a domestic Cup. Do I expect the Reds to climb into 4th place? No, but while my friend Matt points out Liverpool’s inconsistency, many other clubs have dealt with that same burden. I think that will continue. I think Liverpool will definitely earn qualification for the Europa League next season, and it would not surprise me if Dalglish dials up the right formula to get them Top 4, even without a player of Lucas’ caliber protecting the back 4.
What do you think? Is it fact or fiction that, with the loss of Lucas for the season, Liverpool’s chances of European football are finished?