The buzz surrounding defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva's long-awaited return may appear odd for a Liverpool team struggling for goals, but manager Brendan Rodgers sees him as a vital cog in his masterplan.

A thigh injury has sidelined the Brazil international since late August, restricting him to just four matches in 2012 as the 25-year-old was out for eight months after a knee operation last December. His absence was highlighted as one of the reasons for the Reds' dip in form under Kenny Dalglish after Christmas and Rodgers believes his team have suffered equally.

"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."

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Topics:
#Lucas
#Premier League
#Kenny Dalglish
#Liverpool
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