Having seemed rejuvenated by the arrival of Jürgen Klopp, veteran midfielder Lucas Leiva’s Liverpool career appeared to have been given a boost. Then, as has seemingly happened far too often throughout his time at the club, an injury set him back.
With two months to go in the season and the chance for silverware still alive thanks to progress in the Europa League, though, the 29-year-old is hoping there’s still time left for him to make an impact on the club’s fortunes this year and to end the season on a high note.
"I’m pushing really hard and working really hard to be back as soon as possible," said the midfielder. "Time will tell if I will be able to make it. Hopefully it won’t be too long now until I’m back to full training, and hopefully I’ll play a big part at the end of the season."
Not being ready for full training yet means he won’t be in contention this week, as Liverpool face a pair of potentially decisive games, first against surprise title challengers Tottenham in the league and then against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
He was fit enough, though, to head to Tenerife with the rest of the players left behind during the international break, and he believes it was a mid-season vacation and training camp that will pay dividends for Liverpool as they push for a strong finish to the 2015-16 season.
"It was brilliant," was Lucas’ take on Liverpool’s recent campcation. "It’s great credit to the manager for having the idea to take all the players who were not on international duty and the staff. It was a good chance to take our families, to be closer to each other and know each other better.
"It was a great idea to go out, get a little bit of sun, and come back for these last six weeks of the season, which will be very intense. We were still working in training and, for me, doing rehab. It’s going to be a very intense six weeks and we are all ready to make the most of it."