During a wretched spell at the start of the last season, which saw Liverpool endure their worst opening to a Barclays Premier League campaign, one of few players to emerge with any credit was virtual ever-present Lucas Leiva, and it will come as great relief to Reds fans that following a gruelling summer, the Brazilian has confirmed he's fully fit for the new season.
Lucas made 47 appearances for Liverpool last season, as their late surge under Kenny Dalglish saw them salvage sixth spot in the Barclays Premier League.
But after his regular season exploits, where he finished having made the most tackles in the division, Lucas then featured for Brazil in the Copa America, but the 24-year-old assures supporters that come the club's opening game against Sunderland, he'll be raring to go.
"I'm fit," he said. "I didn't have a full holiday and was training with the national team, so it won't be a problem for me to be available for Saturday.
"I am really excited to be back and really looking forward to the new season. We're in a good mood at the moment and hopefully we'll start well on Saturday."
The victorious Luis Suarez, who also finished as top scorer in Argentina, is also expected back for the opening weekend albeit as a substitute, and Lucas has praised the former Ajax man for how he's replaced former Liverpool favourite Fernando Torres.
"Fernando was an important player for Liverpool," Lucas added. "He had a successful career here but chose to go to another club. When an important player goes, another one always has to come to fill the space. Suarez came straight away and has done really well.
"It's not easy to come to the Premier League and make an impact straight away, so we're really happy. Hopefully he'll keep doing the same this season.
"He has all the qualities to be a top scorer and one of the best players. In the three months he played for Liverpool he was amazing and hopefully he can do the same this season.
"We're really happy because he's a Liverpool player and for sure he's come back with a lot of confidence for the new season.
"He is really excited, as everyone is at the moment. We have new players and we have a lot of confidence to start well. We'll make sure we start better than last season."
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