Grateful Lucas back for Liverpool

  • Last Updated: November 30 2012, 13:21 GMT

Lucas Leiva returns to the Liverpool matchday squad on Saturday - and has thanked Reds fans for their support.

Lucas: Ready to make his return

The Brazil international, who also missed a large part of last season with a knee problem, is set to return to first-team action after a three-month lay-off in Saturday's home game against Southampton.

And he told the club's official website: "Ever since my first injury, the fans have been very important to me.

"When you don't play, you think that people might forget about you but I think it has been completely the opposite.

"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.

"Brendan Rodgers has been very good to me since my first day. When he arrived I was just recovering from the knee injury, so he gave me a lot of confidence and was always very clear about his plans for me.

"He has tried to keep me very calm and not tried to rush me, in terms of my rehabilitation."

Rodgers sees Lucas as a vital cog in his masterplan.

Summer signing Joe Allen has been tasked with defensive duties in his absence but Rodgers hopes Lucas' return will free the Wales international to have a greater effect further forward.

"Lucas has worked really hard on and off the field and it is great credit to the medical team who have worked very hard with him," Rodgers said.

"He is at the best point he could be in training and I am not sure how much further he can go with the training because it is now about the games for him.

"It is just about getting the balance. It is finding the solution to control the game.

"We need three different types; one (Lucas) who is maybe more defensive, another (Allen) who can link the game and still get forward and another (Steven Gerrard) who can push on into the box and get goals.

"That is the balance we have been looking for and that has been the job this season, trying to manage that through all the games to make sure we are as fit and fresh as can be."

Defeat at Tottenham, despite one of their best displays under Rodgers, ended an eight-match unbeaten run and left them 10 points adrift of fourth.

Rodgers accepts results have to start matching performances to achieve their targets and scoring more goals is central to that.

Saturday's visit of the struggling Saints, who have the top flight's worst defensive record and have won only three of their last 36 league visits to Anfield, provides the ideal opportunity.

"We are not in a position we deserve to be in, but ultimately we have to turn the performances into results and that is what we aim to do," Rodgers added.

"It has been terrific to watch; you've seen the growth of the group, the mixture of young and senior players really playing with freedom and all you can do is keep your head down and work hard.

"The level of our game is a good one but we have to align that with results and that is important.

"Once we find the solutions to scoring more goals I believe we can push on."


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