LUCAS LEIVA says there’s a buzz of excitement around Melwood following the start of pre-season training under new Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.
The Brazilian midfielder, who is on the comeback trail following a serious knee injury, is an admirer of the new style the manager is looking to install.
“The players are really happy with the way we are training and the sessions,” he said. “I think everybody is really excited for the new season. We have a new manager so everyone will try to impress him and try to be on the team but the most important thing is to build a strong squad because we have a lot of games during the season.
“I think everyone will have a chance to prove themselves.”
Lucas has been sidelined since suffering a cruciate ligament injury last December but is making good progress.
He’s unlikely to feature in the games during the pre-season tour of North America but hopes to be back playing before the Premier League campaign kicks off.
“I’ve been training with the team for a few days but there is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done,” he added. “I will be trying every week to recover. It’s still four or five weeks until the start of the season and our Europa League games, so it’s still too early to say if I will be ready but I’m looking forward to being able to play.
“I’ll be back at the same level that I was because I am working really hard to recover and the players that I have beside me will help me. I just have to be patient.”
Rodgers is relishing the prospect of being able to call on a fully fit Lucas who was Liverpool’s Player of the Year in 2010/11.
“I remember Lucas playing for Brazil in the youth championships so I’ve known about him for a number of years,” Rodgers said.
“I know his qualities. It was difficult for him at the start here. He’s not just shown his footballing ability but his strength of character to become a really prominent figure in the team.
“I’m sure there was a link between the team’s form dipping slightly and a top player like him being missing.
“He’s a great guy, a good worker and very professional. It’s good to see him out there mixing with his team-mates again.”