Gerrard backs Lucas for a Liverpool starting berth

Steven Gerrard has praised Liverpool team-mate Lucas Leiva and stated that the addition of a number of midfielders will not impact upon the South American’s chances of a starting place at the Anfield club.

The Brazilian has had an up and down time in England, winning over fans in 2010/11 after an inconsistent start to his career on Merseyside.

Kenny Dalglish has added Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson to his squad, and Italian international Alberto Aquilani has returned to the outfit following a loan spell at Juventus. Despite this, the England international feels the added competition for starting places will help the 24-year-old improve.

“He has a strong, positive mentality. I’ve seen all the difficulties he’s been through. He has basically rolled his sleeves up, worked hard and improved,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.

“He has got stronger in the gym and has never let his head go down. He’s been prepared to fight to prove a lot of people wrong and was consistently one of our best players last season,” the 31-year-old concluded.

Leiva joined The Reds from Gremio in 2007, and is currently on international duty at the Copa America.