Midfieldr eager to make mark at home and abroad
Lucas Leiva has set himself the double target of helping Liverpool to a good season – and winning a place at next summer’s World Cup.
Lucas is eyeing a successful campaign having seen his previous two hampered by long spells on the sidelines through serious injury.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers regards the 26-year-old as an integral part of midfield with the Anfield outfit looking to sustain a genuine challenge for Champions League qualification.
Lucas, though, has not appeared for his country since earning his 20th cap in 2011 and has not yet featured in any of Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari’s squads.
But with the World Cup being held in his homeland next year, he has not given up hope of appearing in the showpiece tournament.
On not being selected for Brazil, Lucas said: “Of course I think about that and it upsets me. I think to myself: I was so much part of the Seleção – I seemed to be guaranteed a berth.
“Naturally, the injury affected that process, but I don’t want to give up as I’ve always been clear that this is something I want to achieve in my career.
“Anyone who has been part of the national team always wants to go back. It’s such a great thing.
“I know the nucleus of the team is pretty much there and the chances of breaking into the side are slim.
“That said, I’m still hopeful I’ll get another opportunity at least, especially if I can help Liverpool have a good campaign. I know it will be difficult, but I’ll keep on believing.”
Meanwhile, Martin Kelly is willing to become a regular for Liverpool’s under-21 side as he aims to regain his fitness and sharpness following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Kelly skippered the U21 side in their 4-2 win over Manchester United on Monday, his first full 90 minutes since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for the first team against United in September last year.
The 23-year-old was eased back into action by Rodgers during the pre-season programme, but remains some way short of being considered for consistent senior football.
And Kelly said: “It was good to get the first 90 minutes under my belt after so long.
“I played last week in a behind closed doors friendly but to get 90 minutes for the U21s was superb for me and my fitness.
“I just want to get as many games in as I can. I missed so much last season and it’s difficult mentally coming back from 11 months out and knowing you are not where you were last pre-season, because I started the last pre-season flying and that’s where I want to get back to.
“It’s all the hard work that starts now and in the next six to eight weeks I should get back to that fitness.”
Having finalised the season-long loan signing of Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho this week, Rodgers will now turn his attentions to bolstering his forward options with target Willian instead choosing to join Tottenham Hotspur for £30m from Anzhi Makhachkala.
Rodgers may also pursue centre-back cover given the news Sebastian Coates will miss most of the season having damaged his anterior cruciate ligament while on international duty with Uruguay last week.