Player of the season. It's the final poll. The last question. The end to our attempts at gathering together with fellow bloggers, fans, followers, and supporters to look back at some of the best and worst of the 20010-11 Liverpool season. And let's be honest: This one was never going to be close.
In the end, amongst all the highs and lows, the uncertainty and chaos at times both on the pitch and off, there was one person you could count on throughout this whole crazy season to perform game in and game out. That one certainty was a resounding choice amongst both the voters and the panel of bloggers and editors who took part in these season-ending efforts.
That person was Lucas Leiva, Liverpool's player of the season:
steven. of Paisley Gates:
It’s either Lucas or you're dumb. That’s not to say that Suarez isn’t hell on wheels or that Raul hasn’t brought home the bacon. No one is downplaying that Reina has
been the rock against which all others will be judged or saying that the Flying Dutchman hasn’t soared above all reasonable expectations. But it’s been our Brazilian (at least the one that isn’t permanently injured) that deserves the plaudits this time around. Man of the Match performances in a number of key games, the kind of footballing intelligence required to win matches and a hair cut that makes him look less like Ellen than ever before. Consistency is key and despite his lack of flair or panache, Lucas has quietly won the hearts of the haters.
Amy of A Football Report:
Lucas. Lucas. Lucas. Once upon a time he was the slightly slack-jawed, greasy haired, supposed Brazilian wonderkid whose true potential was a secret known to Rafa and Rafa only. Fast forward a few years and it seems as if we're witnessing the work of an entirely different individual. Before, the perennial target of any kind of criticism, now—a truly changed man. I can't honestly claim to be one of those who 'always knew he had it in him,' but it became clear early last season when consistent players were few and far between that something had changed. This Lucas was a new beast. One who was a potent defensive force as well as a more than decent passer of the ball. The mind boggles at some of the stunning pass completion rates he notched up over the course of the season, and he particularly came into his own under Dalglish. To think, that if not for a rare lucid moment from the one and only Roy Hodgson, Purslow could have had his way and shipped the Brazilian out. Then, not many in the media—or indeed among the supporters—would have batted an eyelid. One superb season and a richly deserved contract extension later, that's not the case anymore.
Nathan of Paisley Gates:
Lucas is the right choice for me. Suarez has transformed our play to a greater degree, but it is Lucas who has performed game after game for the entire season. He has been my Man of the Match on many occasions, and is probably the one player in the team who can claim to have been good under both Roy and Kenny. Finally free from the looming shadows of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano, Lucas has been his own man in some very heated midfield battles, performing so impressively he has managed to sway popular opinion about himself. Once an object of ridicule, Lucas is now a key player for Liverpool and Brazil. While he may never reach the heights of his aforementioned midfield mentors, Lucas has proven he is LFC quality and is the deserving winner of this award.
Noel of the Liverpool Offside:
I thought Lucas might have been Liverpool's player of the season last season. Last summer I may have argued that I'd rather lose Mascherano than him. I've even at times used him as a kind of litmus test to judge how others approach the game. Which is all to say I might not be the most objective person when it comes to measuring his value to the club. Except that there's the manner in which he dominated Chelsea both at home and on the road, or the way he's outclassed United's midfield every time he's come up against them, or how he's increasingly shown against the likes of Fulham and Birmingham that if the movement is there he can pick a pass as well as anybody—something he first started to show many of the doubters in the fall with Brazil, a country whose midfield he's set to anchor in the forthcoming Copa América. So except that there's all that and nearly sixty percent of Liverpool fans in just about every season ending player of the year poll saying that the objective thing is in fact to say that this season Lucas was absolutely fantastic, end of. Heck, by the end of it he'd even managed to exceed the expectations of those who already believed in his ability. And the best part is, it doesn't look as though he's anywhere near done growing as a player.
nate of Oh You Beauty:
I wish I had a time machine, just so I could take footage of Lucas this season back to 2008. It'd be nice to get a head start on proving the Lucas haters wrong. Then maybe I'd stop Hitler. But first, Lucas haters.
It might have been hard to imagine a few years back, but it's hard to imagine another answer to the question of player of the season right now. And now, with that final question answered, we're just about done with this series of posts that have bounced you from blog to blog and dragged in a handful of great guests over the past two weeks. We do hope you've all enjoyed it. In any case, many of us will be wrapping this whole thing up in our own ways at some point now that all the winners have been revealed, but for now, for those who haven't seen all of the results posts yet, here they are:
* Winner: Flop of the Season
* Winner: Signing of the Season
* Winner: Best Win
* Winner: Worst Loss
* Winner: Performance of the Season
* Winner: Goal of the Season
* Winner: Young Player of the Season