Lucas Leiva Practicing With Liverpool Teammates, Midfielder Close to Returning From Injury

Lucas Leiva is in contention to make his return to action this week, assistant manager Colin Pascoe has revealed.

The Reds are set to play four games in as many days, with the U18s, U21s and first team all in action from Thursday to Sunday.

And Lucas, who has not figured for Liverpool since sustaining a thigh problem against Manchester City on August 26, could be considered for 45 minutes in Friday’s second-string clash against Middlesbrough — though not before being assessed by the club’s medical team.

“The next step is getting his strength up in training and hopefully he can get 45 minutes in the reserve game on Friday,”¬†Pascoe told Liverpoolfc.com.

“But we’ll assess him, see how he is in the next couple of days, and if he feels fine himself, then he could possibly have 45 minutes on Friday.”

As well as sitting out most of the season so far, the Brazil midfielder also missed the second half of 2011-12 due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

However, Lucas returned to full training at Melwood last week — much to the delight of everyone connected with the club.

“It’s fantastic to see Lucas back in training. He’s a good player and it’s nice to get him back,” Pascoe said.

“He’s been unfortunate with a lot of injuries. I know that’s part and parcel of football but it can get you down and it’s nice to see Lucas with a smile on his face.

“He’s a great professional. He’s done his recovery and rehab. When you’re injured, you can’t wait to go and play football again and sometimes you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but Lucas has kept his head down, worked hard and he’s looking good in training.”

A first-team return may still be a few weeks away for Lucas, but Pascoe believes he will slot into Brendan Rodgers‘ set-up seamlessly.

“He knows his position, knows the angles and is a great player,” he said. “It was a sad miss when we lost him — so it’ll be a great boost to the team when he’s available.

“He’s a popular character. He’s a great lad and was missed around us. We’re glad he’s back with us training and when he’s available for selection, it’ll be great to have him around again.”

Meanwhile, Pascoe admits Pepe Reina’s return to action against Wigan on Saturday was a boost for Liverpool — but was eager to pay tribute to the form of the Spaniard’s understudy Brad Jones.

Jones made seven consecutive appearances for the Reds in the absence of Reina, winning plenty of praise for his performances between the sticks.

“Brad came in and was fantastic, keeping clean sheets, but it was great to see Pep back and to get a clean sheet,” Pascoe said.

“Pepe is right up there with all of the [best] goalkeepers in the world. He’s got great feet, can spray the ball around, he’s got great hands and is a top goalkeeper.

“They both keep themselves fit in training, work on things and with Pep and Brad we’ve got two great ‘keepers.”

Photo via LiverpoolFC.com

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