In Focus: The former Liverpool stars driving Lazio forward

Lazio are proving that last season’s Serie A title challenge wasn’t just a flash in the pan — and a trio of former Liverpool stars are helping Simone Inzaghi’s Eagles soar to new heights. After an indifferent start to 2020-21, the Biancocelesti have won six league games in a row to climb within touching distance of the top four. Pepe Reina Originally brought in to provide cover, Reina seized his opportunity when regular No1 Thomas Strakosha tested positive for Coronavirus in October. The 38-year-old has been operating in a sweeper-keeper role and his outstanding long-range distribution played a part in two of Lazio’s goals against Atalanta last month. But it’s not just Reina’s passing that has caught the eye. He’s managed a save percentage of 76.4% this season, which was second only to Genoa’s Mattia Perin (76.6%) prior to this weekend. Luis Alberto Luis Alberto only managed 12 appearances when spending a season at Anfield in 2013-14, but he’s reached 155 games in all competitions for Lazio and remains an integral part of Inzaghi’s side. The 28-year-old Spaniard is at the heart of Biancocelesti’s attacking play and has completed 20.94 passes into the final third per 90 minutes this season, which is the fourth-most in Serie A. He’s also creating an impressive 2.61 chances per match and is establishing himself as one of the greatest playmakers in the club’s modern history. That’s not bad for a midfielder who cost just £3.5million when he joined from Liverpool four-and-a-half years ago. Lucas Leiva With Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic supplying Lazio’s attackers from the centre of the park, somebody has to do the dirty work. That’s a role which Lucas Leiva is more than familiar with, having anchored Liverpool’s midfield for 346 matches across a decade of service at Anfield. Now 34, there has been no sign that the tough tackling Brazilian has lost any of his bite. He’s won back possession in the middle third of the pitch 4.63 times a game in 2020-21, which is inside Serie A’s top 10 performers. Lucas, Reina and Luis Alberto may be playing starring roles in Lazio’s success, but it would be remiss not to mention the man who is finishing off the chances his team-mates create. Talisman Ciro Immobile has now scored 14 league goals this season and has struck a remarkable eight times in his last 10 Serie A appearances, taking his career total to 144 goals for the club. Fighting on two fronts Lazio’s recent form is perhaps reflective of a January fixture list that was free from the strains of Champions League football. Whether Inzaghi’s side can maintain those high standards when continental competition returns later this month remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, though — if they are to continue rising up the table, their three ex-Liverpool stars will be central to their success. Source: livescore

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