Liverpool's midfield maestro Lucas Leiva is a player whose impact on the side cannot be overlooked.

Lucas Leiva

Liverpool's midfield maestro Lucas Leiva is a player whose impact on the side cannot be overlooked.

27-year-old Lucas Leiva has been an integral part of the Liverpool squad now for seven seasons, but he is still a player that continues to divide opinion in the terraces as to what he brings to the side, with many feeling he has become overrated.

Ever since the former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri paid £16.8m for Claude Makelele in 2003, the style of the Premier League was changed for good. This is a point that was touched on by Tottenham Hotspur coach Les Ferdinand earlier in the month.

The success of the Makelele put the defensive midfield role in fashion and Lucas Leiva is a player in a similar mould, adopting a similar style.

It's often easy to overlook these style of midfielders in favour for the more exuberant and attack minded midfielders. Despite that, football is a team game and a number of different roles and styles need to be filled in order to be successful.

But what about Lucas Leiva? He is a player with more than 150 Premier League appearances under his belt but apart from his first two seasons, Liverpool haven't finished in the top four and he hasn't scored a Premier League goal in nearly 5 years.

So is he still having the same impact he did when he first came to Liverpool and won the plaudits? The statistics seem to back-up the theory that he does make a huge difference to Liverpool's results.

Following the statistics for the past one and three quarter seasons, it's plain as day that Liverpool are a much more successful side with him in the team.

Out of the 64 Premier League games Liverpool have played in the assessed time period, Lucas has appeared in 43 of them.

In these games Liverpool have picked up 24 wins, 8 draws and 11 losses, hence a win percentage of 55.81%.

Out of the 21 games he didn't make an appearances in, the Reds only managed 8 wins, 10 draws and 3 losses, leaving them with a win percentage of 38.09%.

The margin is quite large between the two, thus proving that Liverpool have been undeniably more successful with him in the side.

Do these statistics mean he should automatically warrant a place in the starting XI when fit, or do these cover up his short-comings and is an excuse to why he plays so often?

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