Despite a poor start to the Premier League, there has rightly been an optimism around Liverpool football club in recent weeks. With Luis Suarez firing on all cylinders, they have started to put together a decent run of results, and with favourable fixtures over the next month or so, they might well climb the league table rapidly over the festive period.
Suarez has been the catalyst for their success, but has been ably supported by a flush of talented young players including Raheem Sterling, who made a first England appearance in the recent friendly with Sweden.
With players like Jose Enrique also playing at their best again, the club looks to be on an upward trajectory, and the return of Lucas to first team action will give another welcome boost to the club.
The Brazilian has had a nightmare couple of years in terms of injuries, but around those spells on the side-lines he has also played his best football for Liverpool. He adds steel to a midfield currently full of talented but somewhat lightweight players like Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin. Lucas's return will allow those players to move further up the pitch, and advance Liverpool's passing game nearer the opposition's goal, making the team more dangerous as a result.
But Lucas is not only a midfield enforcer, he is a talented player with the ball at his feet and possesses the technical attributes that Rodger's demands of his players. With him in the side Liverpool should be improved both defensively and going forward.
The Brazilian has returned to training over the past week, and could be set for an outing with the U21 side against Middlesbrough on Friday.
It's not clear exactly how far away from first team action he is, and Liverpool have a tricky balancing act in that they will want an important player back as quickly as possible, but will also be wary of risking him picking up another knock.
Last year Lucas' injury was a large part of Liverpool's poor season in the league, and this time around they have struggled at times without him.
With Suarez in outrageous form, young stars coming out of the woodwork all over the place, and the Brazilian midfielder likely to return during a favourable run of fixtures, Liverpool could be set for an excellent couple of months.
image: © Ben Sutherland