Liverpool legend John Aldridge has praised Lucas Leiva and Joel Matip following their performances during the Reds' dominant 4-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday (10 September). The duo were paired at centre-back by Jurgen Klopp after Dejan Lovren pulled out after suffering an eye injury during training ahead of the game against the Foxes.
The Merseyside club were in control of the game within the 31st minute with goals from Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, but a mistake from Lucas seven minutes later gave Jamie Vardy the chance to pull one back and get the reigning champions back in the game. It was a poor touch from the Brazilian defender and pressure from Shinji Okazaki that led to him putting a perfect cross for the England international to tuck in his second goal of the season.
However, the defender recovered well from his mistake and his performance was flawless during the rest of the game according to the Reds legend. Lucas is likely to revert to the bench for the clash against Chelsea with Lovren set to return to the first-team.
"It was the only lapse Lucas made all afternoon, and it led to a goal. And yes, when Leicester got it back to 2-1 you start thinking 'oh, here we go'," Aldridge wrote in his column for Liverpool Echo.
"We've seen it before, but the Brazilian's response was absolutely perfect. He didn't put a foot wrong after that, and can be very pleased with his performance overall.
"He's a great character, someone who loves playing for Liverpool and will do a job whenever and wherever he's asked. Don't underestimate those qualities, or his ability to play as a centre half," he added.
'Chelsea vs Liverpool'
The former Liverpool forward also believes that Chelsea will find it difficult to stop the Reds forwards from scoring a goal if they are in the same form as they were against the Foxes. Klopp's side have managed to score four goals in a game on two occasions in their first four games and could trouble the Blues defence, who will be without John Terry after the defender picked up a foot injury during their clash against Swansea City on Sunday (11 September).
However, the Merseyside club will also have to be on alert as Eden Hazard and Diego Costa have looked threatening from the very first game of the campaign. The former has scored two goals in the four games thus far, while the latter has scored four in as many games. Aldridge has backed Matip to counter the threat of the Brazil-born Spanish forward, after putting in impressive performances in the games against Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester.
"Chelsea next, then, and I think Liverpool will be going there in confident mood. Antonio Conte's made a decent start, but I think most teams will struggle to contain the Reds if they are on song."
"It's up to us to get the consistency that was lacking last season. But I would fancy us to score in any game we play right now. Chelsea might be without John Terry, with David Luiz coming in, but whoever plays at the back for them will be tested by our speed and our movement," the former Reds forward explained.
"At the other end, it's about keeping the big two quiet – Hazard and Costa. They've both played well so far, but so too has the excellent Joel Matip. Hopefully his form continues because he looks a gem."