Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes that he is close to returning to full fitness.

The Brazilian missed almost the entire 2011/12 Premier League season due to knee ligament damage, and has been out of action for the most part of the current campaign with a thigh injury.

He made his comeback for the Reds earlier this month, but has looked a little short of his best as the club continue to struggle.

Lucas feels that he is not far from reaching peak fitness, and believes that the hectic Christmas fixture schedule will help:

“After a long time out and two difficult injuries, I’m just very happy to be back,” he told Liverpool’s official website.

“I’m still progressing in terms of fitness, confidence and strength but I will get there again. I just need to be patient and when I get back to 100 per cent fitness and the level I was at before, the better it will be for myself and the team.

“In terms of fitness, I’m very close to being 100 per cent but it’s just a question of time and games, to be honest.

“It’s very hard to predict how long it will take to get back to my best but I can see an improvement every week, especially in the training sessions.

“I’m starting to feel sharper and better every day so I try to take that into the games. It’s important to play well at this crucial time over Christmas, especially because we have a lot of games.”

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