Lucas can't wait for Liverpool return

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva will be working as hard as ever this pre-season, in a bid to regain full fitness and deliver the same level of performances that saw him flourish at Anfield last year.

The 25-year-old midfielder was one of the Reds' standout performers in the latter part of 2011, before a knee injury picked up in November cut short the Brazilian's 2011-12 campaign.

Lucas reported back at Melwood this week to link-up with new manager Brendan Rodgers and the rest of the Liverpool squad, as preparations for the new season started to get underway.

"I'll be back at the same level that I was because I am working really hard to recover and the players that I have beside me will help me," he told the club's official website. "I just have to be patient again; much of my life in Liverpool has been like that.

"I'm still in the progress of my rehab. I've been training with the team for a few days. There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done but I am very happy to be able to train and I'm looking forward to the new season.

"I will be trying every week to recover and to progress. It's still four or five weeks until the start of the season and our Europa League games, so it's still too early to say if I will be ready but I'm looking forward to starting the season and being able to play."

Liverpool are still missing a number of senior players, with those involved at the European Championships this summer allowed additional time to recover from the extra games.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the players coming back from the Euros and starting the season," Lucas added. "I think everybody is really, really excited for the new season.

"The players are really happy with the way we are training and the sessions. We have a new manager so I think everyone will try to impress him.

"The most important thing is to build a strong squad because we have a lot of games during the season. I think everyone will have a chance to prove themselves."

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