Brendan Rodgers delighted with Lucas progress
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Lucas Leiva for the way he has recovered from his injury problems.
The Brazilian missed the end of last season after damaging knee ligaments against Chelsea, and was quickly back on treatment table with a thigh problem earlier this campaign, after recovering over the summer.
However, his latest return to the first-team has been more successful, with 26-year-old notching enough minutes to be considered one of the Reds’ key men once more.
He was criticised for some shaky displays early on in his comeback, but Rodgers feels he has shown great character to recover from his setbacks:
“I’ve been delighted with Lucas,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“We were very wary of the fact he had had a serious knee injury last season, and then obviously another problem on top of that this season.
“It was important for the team to get him back, but it was important for him that we did so at the right pace and that we paced his recovery right.
“It is a big credit to him as a professional. He has worked so hard, and his attitude and his application has been first class. He deserves every praise for the way he has conducted himself.”
However, Rodgers feels that there is still more to come from Lucas, and that he is unlikely to be back to his very best until the start of next season:
“I still believe, having worked with these kind of injuries in the past, that it won’t be until the summer, and beyond even, that we see him back at full level.”
Lucas endured a tough start to his life at Anfield following his arrival in 2007, but has matured into a valuable member of the first-team squad.