Lucas ready for action

Brazilian declares himself fit and ready to face Sunderland

Lucas: The midfielder was in action with Brazil at the Copa America this summer

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is fully fit and wants to play against Sunderland on the first day of the Premier League season.

The Brazilian has not had as much of a summer break as some members of Kenny Dalglish's squad after representing his country at the Copa America.

It has also been speculated whether Lucas will have a place in the Liverpool team, despite being voted the club's Player of The Season in the last campaign.

Midfielders Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson, as well as winger Stewart Downing, have been signed to mean competition for places is fierce ahead of this Saturday's visit of Sunderland.

But having played 45 minutes in last weekend's pre-season friendly against Valencia, Lucas told Liverpool's official website: "I'm fit. I didn't have a full holiday and was training with the national team, so it won't be a problem for me to be available for Saturday.

"I am really excited to be back and really looking forward to the new season. We're in a good mood at the moment and hopefully we'll start well on Saturday."

Lucas was sent off during Brazil's quarter-final exit from the Copa America to eventual finalists Paraguay.