Lucas Leiva
Leiva is more than showing his worth to Kenny Dalglish in the heart of Liverpool's midfield. REUTERS

BBC Football pundit Garth Crooks has lavished praise on Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva following his outstanding performance at Anfield on Sunday.

The Brazilian was Liverpool's best player during the 1-1 draw with Manchester City at the weekend and Crooks believes it is a testament to his growing influence on Kenny Dalglish's side that he is no longer the scorn of the "Anfield boo boys".

Leiva was Liverpool's fans' player of the year last season and has gradually won round his critics since first arriving at Anfield in 2007.

The Brazilian has struck up a decent understanding with Charlie Adam in Liverpool's midfield, and the duo, who were instrumental during their victory over Chelsea last week, were once again superb against the Premier League leaders at Anfield on Sunday.

Crooks suggests Leiva in particular was the focal point of Liverpool's good work in the midfield battle and his individual stats for the match certainly support the aforementioned football pundit's claims. The Brazilian international won possession with all seven of his tackles during the lively encounter at the weekend, and can now boast the best tackle success ratio than any other player in the Premier League this season.

"He was good last week against Chelsea but he was even better this week against Manchester City." Crooks said of the Liverpool midfielder in his column for the BBC.

"No longer the scapegoat for the Anfield boo boys, the Brazilian was at the heart of almost every Reds attack and was very unlucky not to get on the scoresheet."

In the aftermath of Liverpool's victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the previous week, Leiva admitted he was enjoying playing with Charlie Adam, who arrived from Blackpool in the summer.

"Charlie is an offensive player and I try to give him the licence to go forward and make a key pass," Lucas said." Leiva told the Liverpool Echo.

"You could see the pass he put on for Glen Johnson for the winning goal.

"When we're defending he gets back and tries to help me. Charlie is learning a lot about the defensive role.

"There are a lot of new players in the team and it takes a little bit of time to get an understanding but like everyone I'm really happy and enjoying playing with Charlie.

"If we play more games together then we will be even better because the understanding will improve."