After only being fit enough to make the bench against Manchester United, a pair of warm up matches over the international break have Lucas Leiva ready to start against Arsenal. And with Liverpool’s form slumping over the past three matches—a draw against Blackburn in the FA Cup, a lucky victory over Swansea, and then the loss to United—the steady midfielder could be just what’s needed to get things back on track.
"I feel great," Lucas told the club’s official website. "I was available for the Manchester United game, but probably wasn’t able to play the whole game. Now I feel 100 percent. Now it’s just a question of getting some minutes and training sessions, so that’s what I need and that’s what I’m having. Leading into the Arsenal game that’s going to be good because I will have had three full weeks of training and I’m looking forward to it."
Over the break, Lucas got half a game in with the U21s before going the full 90 in Steven Gerrard’s charity testimonial. It wasn’t a match played quite at the pace of a Premier League tie, but with squads made up mostly of current and only recently retired players, it was a faster game than most of its sort and that Lucas lasted to the final whistle without showing signs of tiring or rust has to be a positive heading into the weekend.
Before his latest injury, Lucas had been in his best form since Brendan Rodgers arrived at the club, and with the current available midfielders having struggled in recent weeks and Steven Gerrard serving a three-match ban for his reckless red against United, there really is only one option available to the manager if he wants to change things up. For the sake Liverpool’s top four chances, hopefully he does and hopefully Lucas is ready.
"I was in a very good moment," added Lucas, "probably the best moment in the last couple of years, and I had a good run of games. The beginning of the season wasn’t good for me because I couldn’t play much, but as soon as I got back in the team I think I helped a lot. I need to be ready and if I get a chance again I need to be at the same level I was before I was injured."