Lucas Looking Forward to "Fresh Start"

Michael Regan

With the manager declaring him fit, midfielder Lucas Leiva is looking forward to his return to action on Saturday against Southampton after a year away from regular football.

At his press conference on Thursday, manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed that Lucas was fit and would be in contention to face Southampton on Saturday, and today the Brazilian spoke about both the lengthy time he has been away from regular football and about how much he's looking forward to the chance to get back into the action on Saturday.

"I will be available for selection," he said, "and if I get the opportunity to try to help, I have to be very patient. I have been out for a long time, so I think that my performance will get better as I get more games. But I am really looking forward to the weekend. It's another step forward.

"I think it will be like a fresh start for me. I feel stronger and I am really looking forward to meeting the fans again at Anfield. I have been watching games from the stands, and now I want to help the team to get the points that we really need at the moment."

Some rust will be inevitable as Lucas returns to action almost exactly a year after the initial injury that has seen him sidelined for so long. However, given how quickly he returned from a surgically repaired ACL the first time around, there's an argument to be made that being forced to take a further three months off thanks to a complicating thigh injury will only have been good for the strength of his knee.

Hopefully, though, the fans who have grown to love the holding midfielder over the years will, now that he's returning, have the patience to let him get back up to something like full match fitness before expecting him to carry the midfield on his back—even if that's exactly what he'd been doing for the past 18 months when he went down to injury last December.

"When you don't play, you think that people might forget about you but I think it has been completely the opposite," Lucas added. "People send me nice messages and they say that they really miss me. So this has given me the confidence to come back.

"The players, on a daily basis, have really supported me. I remember when Luis scored and he had a message for me on his shirt. These are the small things that really mean a lot and they keep you going. Now it's the time for me to repay that and help them."

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