Liverpool’s emphatic winning form in preseason this summer can help the Reds make a faster start to the Barclays Premier League season than in recent years, according to midfielder Lucas Leiva.
Brendan Rodgers‘ team triumphed in six of the seven games it played ahead of 2013-14, downing Preston, an Indonesia XI, Melbourne Victory, the Thailand national team, Olympiacos and Valerenga.
An unfortunate defeat by Celtic in Dublin on Saturday concluded the Reds’ preseason preparations, and the performances to date have encouraged the Brazilian.
“We know it’s still preseason and we are still getting our fitness level better, but it’s always important to win games,” Lucas told Liverpoolfc.com. “Then when the competition starts you have a lot of positives to take and confidence to start the season.
“In the last few years, we didn’t have the best start — that is probably what cost us during the season.
“We have difficult games to play but if we start well, it can give you confidence to keep going during the season — until January is always the key.”
After a year of battling with serious injuries, the No. 21 returned to form in 2012-13 and racked up 31 appearances in all competitions. And now he feels close to 100 percent.
“I don’t think I’m far away, to be honest,” he added. “I’m getting the full preseason with a lot of confidence. I’m really looking forward to this season.
“I’ve left behind all my problems that I had last year with the knee and thigh. I feel 100 percent now. I’m still getting fitness back, as everyone else, but definitely looking and feeling better than last year.
“There’s a big chance for me to have the same level of performance I had before the injuries. I’m really looking forward and I’m working really hard.
“The most important thing is that my confidence is very high at the moment — I think it’s a big chance for me to repeat the season I had before the injury.
“I knew it was going to be hard and it’s not easy to come back after two difficult injuries. But I’ve seen a lot of players have difficult injuries and come back. I have no reason to fear that.
“I feel really sharp now and confident that it’s going to be a key season for me. I worked really hard during the summer as well to prepare myself and my body to get a good start.”
Lucas’ compatriot, Philippe Coutinho, has thrived under Rodgers since sealing a switch to Anfield from Inter Milan in January and maintained a supreme level of performance for the new campaign.
The No. 10 enters his first full season in English football as a marked man in Lucas’ opinion, although the midfielder has confidence that his teammate will play a crucial role for the Reds.
“We could see in half a season last year what he is able to do, and of course his quality is getting better and better and his confidence,” the 26-year-old continued. “He’s getting older and getting more experience. It’s going to be a difficult season for him because everyone knows him now and everyone knows what he’s capable of.
“But he really settled very well and I think he will be one of the key players for us going forward during the season.
“He had a lot of experience, he didn’t come straight from Brazil — I think that helped him. He spent two years in Italy and six months in Spain, so he had experience already of playing in different styles of football. Of course, the Premier League is always very hard to adapt to.
“But with his qualities he got through that. Myself and other players tried to help him adapt very quickly, especially off the pitch because if you feel well off the pitch the chance to perform is even higher.”
Photo via Liverpoolfc.com
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