Lucas Leiva has been out of action since suffering a groin injury in early February's Merseyside derby that ended in a goalless draw. The affable Brazilian lasted only 16 minutes before he was replaced by Joe Allen and has not tasted a minute of competitive action for six weeks. However, the Liverpool Echo brought good news of the defensive midfielder's return to full training.
Liverpool may have continued to win and close in on a place in the top four, pushing hard to retain membership in the land of milk and honey, but Brendan Rodgers' group of players is better with the Brazilian's influence. His presence was vital in Liverpool's rise from the ashes of disappointment at Selhurst Park and Old Trafford. While Lucas' current status as a first-team option is currently more convincing than Steven Gerrard's, the captain showed on Monday how having greater quality to call upon will always benefit the club. Joe Allen been excellent in recent games partnering Jordan Henderson with distinction in midfield, but increased competition for places can only bring better performances on the pitch.
Sunday's fixture with Manchester United may be too soon for Lucas, but he could be in contention for a place in the matchday squad. With the international break following the impending fixture at Anfield, Lucas could have close to two weeks to train in preparation for the trip to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Rushing Lucas back to action too quickly wouldn't be advisable, but Rodgers presumably would relish utilising Lucas with a number of tricky away fixtures to come in April and May. A robust Blackburn Rovers side at Ewood Park block the path to a Wembley date with Tim Sherwood's Aston Villa in what would be another domestic cup semi-final. Sounds like a job for Lucas Pezzini Leiva.
Lucas Leiva's specialist talent in midfield, influence in the dressing room, attitude, professionalism, and experience will be needed in the final two months of the season. Liverpool look close to having everyone fit with Champions League qualification and silverware at stake, a fact that can hearten and possibly embolden even the most nervous elements of Liverpool's fan base.