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Liverpool's young players boosted by playing with Lucas

Image: Liverpool's youngsters can learn from Lucas, says Cameron Brannagan

Lucas is a role model who provides invaluable experience and guidance to Liverpool’s young players, Cameron Brannagan says.

The 29 year-old stepped up his return to action following a hamstring injury by playing 45 minutes for Liverpool's U23s at Arsenal prior to the international break, where he featured alongside Brannagan and youngsters including Ovie Ejaria and Ben Woodburn.

"I've played alongside Lucas in a two in midfield in the past but he played as a centre-back against Arsenal," Brannagan told Sky Sports.

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, applauds supporters after the Premier League match against West Brom
Image: Jurgen Klopp, handed Premier League debuts to Cameron Brannagan and Sheyi Ojo last seson

"He was unbelievable leading from the back with the way he dealt with their centre-forwards and the way he played the ball through midfield and up to the strikers.

"Having him in the team is a big boost because he's a great player and is established and he's been in the game now for many years. He's a top professional who helps the youngsters through the game a lot. We need that and can learn a lot from people like him."

WIGAN, ENGLAND - JULY 17:  Lucas of Liverpool controls the ball during a pre-season friendly between Wigan Athletic and Liverpool at JJB Stadium on July 17
Image: Lucas suffered a hamstring injury in Liverpool's 2-0 pre-season win over Huddersfield

Brannagan has made nine first-team appearances to date and caught the eye of Lucas in a third round FA Cup tie against Exeter City in January. The Brazilian hailed Brannagan's technical ability and praised the 20-year-old's fearlessness in the tackle.

"That gave me massive confidence," Brannagan admitted. "And that's part of what of the youngsters are trying to do - impress the first-team players and the manager as much as we can.

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"When you get a bit of praise from the first-team players it gives you a massive boost and makes you feel that if you keep working hard and keep impressing then you might just get your chance."

Cameron Brannagan of Liverpool is tackled by West Ham's Nikica Jelavic
Image: Brannagan in action against West Ham last season

U23s boss Michael Beale was delighted to call upon the services of Liverpool's longest-serving player and thinks Lucas has the necessary qualities to be a coach in his own right in the future.

"After playing for us he went straight into the first-team squad for the game against Spurs," Beale said.

"Lucas is an outstanding human being first and foremost and he gives a lot of experience to our young players. But it's not just the young players that benefit - I also like to pick his brains about the youngsters from what he has seen of them when they've trained at Melwood.

"I expect Lucas to possibly go on and become an outstanding coach when his playing career comes to an end because he's got great empathy with people. I said it on the night and I'll say it again, I would take a thousand Lucases."

Beale brings his side back to London to face Brentford in a friendly on Thursday night before they entertain Leicester on Sunday in their third Premier League 2 fixture of the season.

"We're hoping to get a crowd under the lights against Brentford at Griffin Park on Thursday," Beale added.

STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Michael Beale, manager of Liverpool U21's looks on during the Barclays U21 Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur
Image: Beale will ring the changes as U23s face two games in four days

"There will be probably be around eight to 10 changes between Thursday and Sunday to ensure everyone gets some game-time.

"Leicester are riding the crest of a wave of success at the moment. Their U23s coach Steve Beaglehole is really experienced and done really well over the last few years, producing players like Ben Chilwell and Joe Dodoo.

"It will be a tough game but I am looking for us to kick on from the Arsenal game where we won 3-1."

Liverpool U23s host Leicester City at Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers FC, on Sunday September 11, kick-off 2pm. Admission is just £4 for adults and £1 for children and concessions. Members and season ticket holders can gain admission free of charge, simply by bringing their cards on the day.

 Watch Sky Sports' derby day extravaganza on September 10 - Man Utd v Man City and Celtic v Rangers - as part of our three months half-price offer.

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