Liverpool have received a boost with the news that midfielder Lucas Leiva could return from his thigh injury by the end of the month.

The Brazilian has been sidelined for four weeks so far after pulling up just five minutes into the Reds’ Premier League clash with Manchester City.

It was only the 25-year-old’s fourth appearance following a lengthy period on the treatment table due to cruciate knee ligament damage.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admitted he is pleased that his anchorman is making a speedy recovery and could be in contention for the hectic winter schedule:

“Lucas has been out on the field in the last week or so which is great.” He is quoted by the Liverpool Daily Post.

“We’re starting to open up his running.

“He’s not doing multi- directional movements yet but he’s doing a lot of straight line running and endurance work.

“I’m anticipating maybe another three weeks but his professionalism is great and he’ll get back probably sooner than is anticipated.”

Lucas is widely regarded as one of the key first-team players at Anfield, with his ability to read the game and win the ball important in the club’s style of play.

His absence has allowed the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and on-loan Turkish playmaker Nuri Sahin greater opportunities, with both impressing.