Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is ready to make his return from a serious knee injury two months ahead of schedule. Lucas has been sidelined since November, when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, and the Brazil international had been expected to miss the start of the new season.
But Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes the 25-year-old is already fit enough to feature on the club's pre-season tour of North America. Liverpool play friendlies against Toronto, Roma and Tottenham Hotspur, and Rodgers is hopeful Lucas could feature as early as the first game of the tour against the MLS outfit on Saturday.
"He'll have some involvement. He's still got some way to go to get back to where he was before the injury, but he's back two months early," Rodgers told lfctour.com. "This is normally a nine-month injury. He's been back in seven and that's great credit to his work and the work of the medics here."
"He's done very well and is working very hard. We can feed him into some of the games and increase his mental capacity to improve, because obviously it was a serious injury. He's a great guy, he loves his football, loves this club, and he's making great progress."
Meanwhile, Rodgers has admitted he could make a move for Swansea City midfielder Joe Allen despite claims that he was not allowed to sign players from his former club for 12 months. Rodgers left Swansea to take over at Anfield last month and it was initially suggested the south Wales side had insisted on a clause that stopped him returning to the Liberty Stadium to buy his old players.
But Rodgers, asked about reports linking him with £10m-rated Allen, told SkySports.com: "I have a great relationship with Swansea but if there is a market for any of the players, I would like to be in that market.
"They respect that. He is a very talented player, which everyone knows, but there is nothing more at the moment. When players come to a club such as Liverpool, it's never straightforward. There are always other barriers and difficulties. At this moment, there are ongoing negotiations on a few targets."