Updates from Wednesday, March 12
Lucas Leiva has confirmed no ill-effects from his recent 90-minute outing for Liverpool's under-21 side at West Ham, revealing he expects to be fit for the final 10 games of the season.
Lucas told Liverpool's official website:
It was really good for me to get going again and try to improve my fitness.
I was lucky that I wasn't out for a long time and I'm now looking forward to first-team action. Hopefully I'll be able to help the team again for the next 10 games because we know how important they are.
I felt really good after the game and I'm looking forward to the next two months.
Updates from Friday, March 7
Lucas Leiva expects to be fit for Liverpool's trip to Manchester United on March. 16, revealing he will be available for the Reds' remaining games of the campaign.
Today I make my return with the reserve team. I am glad that my recovery went very well and I am looking forward for the last 10 games.— Lucas Leiva (@LucasLeiva87) March 7, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Feb. 27
Lucas Leiva will not make a Liverpool return in the weekend trip to Southampton.
Brendan Rodgers confirmed, via the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:
Lucas Leiva also back full training but won't be considered for the weekend. #LFC— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) February 27, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, Feb. 12:
Lucas Leiva could be back by the end of February, according to Liverpool's head of performance, Glen Driscoll.
Liverpool's official website provided the update:
Lucas Leiva was due to be in a brace for six weeks, according to specialists' opinion, but yesterday he was outside running just over three weeks in, which is fantastic and shows just how ahead of schedule he is.
Without providing specific dates I would hope that by the end of the month we should start to get the likes of Jose (Enrique), Lucas and (Mamadou) Sakho back.
Updates from Wednesday, Jan. 22
Lucas Leiva Tweeted out an update on his knee injury:
Updates from Tuesday, Jan. 21
Sky Sports has the latest on Lucas' injured knee:
Liverpool midfielder Lucas expected to miss two months with knee ligament injury. More on #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 21, 2014
Lucas Leiva has been a key part of Liverpool's resurgent 2013-14 season, but the Reds are now holding their collective breath after the Brazilian star went down with an apparent knee injury during the squad's Jan. 18 match against Aston Villa.
According to Liverpool's official Twitter account, Leiva exited in the 66th minute of the match with the score knotted at 2-2:
Brendan Rodgers spoke about the injury after the match, per Liverpool's official website:
"He clashed knees with an opponent, so we'll just see how he is," Rodgers told reporters after the final whistle.
"He just felt a little click in his knee. Hopefully it's not too serious. We'll not know for the next 24 to 48 hours."
Lucas replaced Philippe Coutinho at the start of the second half, and the impact was immediately apparent. Not only did Liverpool play much better defensively, but it was also able to hold possession far more effectively.
After falling behind 2-0, the Reds pulled to within one by scoring during stoppage time in the first half, and then Steven Gerrard tied it by converting a penalty kick.
The entire flow of the game changed when Lucas entered the fray, and that should come as no surprise since he ranks among the EPL's top tacklers, according to Squawka Football:
Premier League most tackles: Jedinak (74), Lucas Leiva (73), Yacob (73), Tioté (69), Pieters (68), Ward (68), Schneiderlin (67).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 13, 2014
For as well as Lucas has played this season, he has been in the news lately due to an Instagram photo that he posted of his birthday party:
The party featured Manchester City players Fernandinho and Pablo Zabaleta, as well as Fabio and Rafael da Silva of Manchester United. Some questioned whether it was right for Lucas to hang around with rival players during the season, but Lucas downplayed the issue, according to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
The friendship of these players is something that I really value. There is always a lot of respect between us.
It's something important, especially being so far from Brazil. I said we have nothing to fear because we are friends.
Sometimes you get abuse because some people don't understand but that's life. When we are on the pitch we all fight for our clubs. Of course we always try to defend our team. I always remember the fight I had with Rafael in the derby– that means nothing outside of the pitch.
I am very happy I have people who play in other teams and are my friends outside of the pitch.
Lucas' passionate play for Liverpool this season certainly suggests that he has no trouble flipping the competitive switch on when he needs to.
The main concern for Liverpool fans now relates to how much time he might miss, as there is no question that he is a necessary piece of the puzzle in order for the Reds to make a run at the EPL title.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter