Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is confident he’ll return to action stronger than ever next season after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
The Brazilian international damaged anterior cruciate ligaments in his knee, stretchered off during the Reds’ 2-0 win away at Chelsea in the League Cup.
After returning home for the early stages of rehabilitation, Lucas was back at the club’s Melwood training ground at the turn of the year, and is now confident things are moving in the right direction as he looks to return in August for the 2012/13 campaign.
"It's going well. The knee has responded very well after surgery," Lucas told Liverpool’s official website.
"There's still a long way to go, but everything is going as planned and the doctors are very happy with my progress."
Whilst the former Gremio star admits life has been hard off the pitch, he’s continued to stay involved in first team activities, with colleagues helping to keep the 25-year-old’s spirits high during a difficult period.
"At the home games, I am always involved. I haven't missed one. It's important. On a daily basis here at Melwood, I think it's important to be around and try to send my team-mates a positive message and help in any way I can - and I am always there at Anfield to support them,” he continued.
"It's my first injury since I came to Liverpool, so it's a bit frustrating because I would like to be on the pitch and help my team-mates."
It’s not just the players who have supported Lucas through these tough times though, with the Reds’ loyal supporters showing their affection to last season’s fans’ player of the year through social networking site Twitter.
Signed by Rafa Benitez, the player originally took time to settle into Premier League life, but is now a firm favourite with everyone connected to the Anfield outfit.
"It's been a mix of everything - supporters, team-mates, doctors and my family," Lucas concluded.
"Everyone has pulled together and it's made a big difference for me. The messages I have received, especially on Twitter, have been very good and they keep me positive and strong to recover."