The Brazilian midfielder returned the Reds’ side that faced Manchester City in their 2-2 draw earlier in the season. He had been out for 9 months with a cruciate ligament injury and, upon his return fell victim to another setback – this time a thigh injury.
But the Reds’ boss is hopeful that he can sustain his fitness this time around and can contribute to a busy December for the team, after coming through an under-21 match unscathed yesterday.
“I think after today and a good week’s training, next week he should be ready,” said Rodgers before the game.
Lucas has made 186 appearances for Liverpool since his arrival in 2007. He has been praised for the protection he offers to the Reds’ backline – he is the most defensive midfielder at the club, since the departure of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano and they’ve badly missed that protective presence in their midfield.
“He’ll be a big player for us. He’s got a wonderful football brain, knows the ideas we’re trying to implement here and he’s a real good man.”
Rodgers’ side have made a substantial improvement after a sluggish start to the season under the new manager but his system seems to be paying off – exemplified by their 3-0 victory over Wigan last weekend, and with Lucas back they can only improve.
“We’ve got good players in there. Lucas is a top professional, an international player, and he’s got good experience in this country. He knows exactly what we’re trying to do, so when you’ve got someone of that calibre coming back, it certainly makes you better,” added Rodgers.
The manager faces his former club Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday as his team look to climb the table with their sights firmly fixed on the top four. The Brazilian’s return will surely help them in the quest to achieve their ambitions this season.
“He’s worked very hard. He was unfortunate that he got the injury right at the start of the season having worked so hard on his knee, but indirectly his movement is a lot better now with his knee.
"He’s had extra working time to prepare that and now he looks really strong and fit. He’ll play 45 minutes and then we’ll see where we are in the next week or so.”
In fact he played more. Lucas played 62 minutes as one of the overage players in the under-21 fixture against Middlesbrough.
Commenting on twitter after the game he said: "Nice to be wear the Red shirt again. Looking forward to have a good week of training and hopefully be available the beginning of December."
Lucas will hope to help continue Liverpool's excellent run, and will be watching on closely hoping the wheels don't come off tomorrow.
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