Premier League

Lucas - Johnson is missing link

Midfielder feels new signing will prove key in title race

Johnson: Lucas backing

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Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva feels that new signing Glen Johnson could propel the club to their first league title since 1990.

England right-back Johnson joined the Reds from Portsmouth earlier this summer for a fee of £18million, as manager Rafa Benitez plans for the new season.

Last campaign the Anfield club demonstrated improvement in England's top flight and finished just four points behind champions Manchester United.

Lucas is eagerly anticipating the 2009/10 term and has warned Liverpool's title rivals that they will be stronger with Johnson in tow.

"We have not been surprised by how good he's looked in training because we already knew him as a player," he told the club's official website.

"He has played at left-back but still showed his quality.

"Hopefully he will be an important player for us and help us win the title - that's what we want.

"His pace will be important and he is strong. He likes to go forward and we've already seen he has a good delivery. These are the things a full-back has to have.

"Full-backs are important in modern football and especially with the way Liverpool play. To have an overlapping full-back allows us to find space."