Lucas close to full fitness
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva feels he is close to being back to 100 per cent following a frustrating spell with injuries.
A knee ligament problem restricted the Brazil international to just 15 appearances in 2011/12, while a thigh complaint has kept him sidelined for much of the current campaign.
Lucas has, however, been able to figure in Liverpool's last three fixtures, allowing him to edge his way towards full match sharpness.
He believes it will not take long for him to reach that level, with the busy festive period offering plenty of opportunities in which to get further game time under his belt.
"After a long time out and two difficult injuries, I'm just very happy to be back," Lucas 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."