Lucas eyes start of season

Brazilian midfielder happy with progress after serious knee injury

Lucas Leiva: Says he is recovering well from first serious injury of career

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Lucas Leiva hopes to be fit enough to return to action around the start of the new season.

Liverpool's combative midfielder suffered serious damage to the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last November, undergoing surgery the following month.

Now back on Merseyside after a spell of rehab with former club Gremio in his native Brazil, the 25-year-old feels his long spell out of action is nearing the end.

"I think I am progressing very well in terms of the knee, strength and fitness-wise," he said.

"I am working every week and trying to improve every week and the main target is to be fit for the new season, if not for the start then after a few weeks."

Difficult

The injury forced Lucas into the first long-term absence of his career, something he admits he found difficult to deal with.

He added: "It has been very hard for me because I have never been out for a month so you can imagine five months when I can't play and only watch the game.

"I just had to cope with the injury and the time. As soon as I got the injury I knew I would be out for many months and I started to think about other things.

"The most difficult period for me was when I was on crutches for two months, especially the first four weeks after the surgery when the knee was swollen.

"To be honest, for a few moments I thought I couldn't come back or even walk, because the way I looked at my knee I felt scared.

"But as soon as I started the rehab, it is unbelievable how your body reacts.

"My main target now is to be 100% recovered and be okay to play a part in next season."