In securing a goalless draw at Everton, Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to 14 matches, their longest since the halcyon days of Rafa Benitez.
So rich is their current vein of form that the Reds have been handed odds on 17/20 favouritism ahead of high-flying Tottenham’s visit to Anfield this week.
However, their hopes of elongating this impressive patch of imperiousness were dealt a significant blow at Goodison Park, when Brazilian anchorman Lucas Leiva was forced to withdraw with a groin injury.
Ruled out of the Spurs game, the former Gremio man was just one name on a raft of midfield casualties incurred during the friendly derby.
Key conjurers Raheem Sterling and Phillipe Coutinho face late fitness tests before being picked to tackle the Lilywhites, but neither will be missed as much as the hideously underrated Lucas.
The Samba ace has been included in the ranks 22 times this term and Liverpool have dodged defeat in 20 of these games.
This staggering stat is intensified when you consider that without him, the Reds have prevailed a paltry five times from 16, losing half of these.
In numbers, the Merseysiders have a 50% losing rate when Lucas has been on the shelf, compared to the 9% it stands at when he has been thrust into battle.
This significant rise means there must be more than a little apprehension ahead of on-song Spurs’ arrival.
Lucas’ presence in an adventurous midfield stabilises the side, while simultaneously offering valuable protection to a defence that looks comically brittle without it.
Weighing in with 4.1 tackles per match, the Brazilian’s ability to regain possession belies his lightweight frame.
When measuring this metric next to his club contemporaries, Lucas is comfortably top of the pile, with Javier Manquillo’s 3.2 the next best total.
The best average recorded by a fellow midfielder is Jordan Henderson’s 2.4.
To supplement these stellar combat stats, Lucas also boasts an 86 per cent pass completion rate, suggesting he’s the perfect modern-day holding midfielder.