- Premier League
Lucas: I'm near my Liverpool best
Lucas believes he is getting "very close" to his best level at Liverpool after enduring a couple of injury-hit campaigns.
The Brazilian was signed by Rafael Benitez six years ago and has made over 200 appearances for the club, and after a difficult start began putting in stellar performances as he settled on Merseyside.
However, cruciate ligament damage which ruled him out for the majority of the 2011-12 season and a thigh injury sidelining him for three months last August were huge setbacks in his Anfield career.
But now the 26-year-old believes he is on the right track to regaining his sparkling form from a few seasons ago.
"I am not there yet but I feel I am getting very close to my best level," Lucas said speaking to the Daily Mail. "It feels like a good time again. I was sure if I worked hard, I could make it happen. I'm very happy it has."
The 2010-11 season was one of Lucas' best as he was voted the Fans' Player of the Year, carrying the Liverpool midfield in the absence of captain Steven Gerrard, and for him that was the turning point in his career.
"The third season was the breakthrough. When I had the chance to play a lot of games in a row, I really started to develop," Lucas said.
Lucas revealed he was influenced by the experience and work ethic of Gerrard and Jamie Carragher when he arrived. "Stevie and Carra show what it means to be a Liverpool player every single day. They want to do well all the time, they act properly. Every training session matters. You cannot help but learn from people like them," the Brazilian said.
Opening up about the tough start to life at Liverpool, Lucas admitted he needed to adjust quickly in order to succeed.
"It was very hard [at the beginning]. At first I couldn't speak the language, I didn't have many friends and family was not here. It was a struggle to get to know people and I found it difficult getting involved in the day-to-day things that went on at the club," Lucas recalled.
"Yes, the food was different and the city was new but I lead a quiet life and those aspects were not too much of a problem. I just felt that if I could handle it all, I'd get there. I needed to be mentally strong otherwise it would have been tough."