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Lucas Hoping to Rebound After Difficult Six Months

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Little has seemed to go right for Lucas on a consistent basis over the past few seasons, but the Brazilian midfielder is hopeful that there's better days ahead as Liverpool continue their US tour.

Clive Brunskill

Most of the speculation about the future of Lucas has quieted, isn't necessarily an indication one way or the other as it pertains to his prospects of remaining on Merseyside. A loan deal with Napoli had been most heavily linked, and still might pan out, but for now the midfielder is putting together a steadily improving body of work as part of Liverpool's preseason. Outings against Brondby and Preston were mixed, but against Roma midweek, Lucas was one of the squad's more impressive performers, operating comfortably as the deepest of a midfield three.

Further improvements will obviously be needed, especially on the heels of a difficult spell that saw last season interrupted by injury and shift in position, all of which conspired to leave him on the outside looking in at Phil Scolari's Brazil side. Tough times, surely, but little to do other than look forward, and he underlined as much yesterday, placing the focus squarely on his work in the preseason and the start of the Premier League campaign in just over three weeks from now:

"The main thing is that we're getting back to fitness - that's the main thing of the pre-season and try to enjoy the games. It's always the same talk at the beginning of the season. Expectations are so high it's quite early to set targets and we just have to get a good pre-season and see how we work.

"I know pretty much know the reason why I didn't go to the World Cup - the last six months were not the best for me, I didn't play as much as I would have liked to and that's probably what cost me the World Cup place."

Those last six months included recuperation from yet another injury, and playing time that often came in a different role than he'd been used to during his time at Liverpool. Most effective in a deeper, defensive-minded role, Lucas was asked to operate in a more advanced position to accommodate Steven Gerrard, and the new duties often proved to ones the Brazilian simply couldn't perform. He's never been about pace or forcefulness going forward, and when asked to do so over the season's final few weeks, his performances left more than a little to be desired.

With Gerrard apparently set to continue in a deeper-lying role and Emre Can the heir apparent in the eyes of many, Lucas' days at Liverpool very well could be numbered. But it also feels like there's a part to be played for him under Brendan Rodgers; whether it's a reduced role off the bench or spot starts in a role that's more familiar (and, critically, better suited to his skill-set), Lucas still has plenty to offer, and it would be awfully nice if he managed a full, injury-free season to prove it.