Lucas to fight for Reds role
Lucas Leiva admits he has found the competition for places at Liverpool difficult to deal with.
Last Updated: 23/09/08 3:16pm
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva admits he has found the competition for places at Anfield difficult to deal with and has spelt out his desire to play in every game.
The Brazil international has returned to Rafa Benitez's first-team plans after representing his country at the 2008 Olympic Games, and played in the recent matches with Aston Villa and Marseille.
Lucas faces a challenge to force his way into the regular thoughts of Benitez, with captain Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso ahead of him in the pecking order on Merseyside.
But the 21-year-old will now not travel away with Brazil until 2010 World Cup qualifier in Venezuela on 12th October and he is hoping for a run in Liverpool's first-team.
"It has been difficult but the good thing now is that I will be here for a month before Brazil play again," Lucas told the Liverpool Echo.
"It will be good for me because it means I do not have to travel and I can spend more time here and recover more.
"I already feel confident, though, because the manager picked me to play against Marseille in the Champions League and I also played against Aston Villa in the Premier League so hopefully now I will be able to play in more games.
"If you look at our midfield there is a lot of competition for places because there is Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano and myself so it will always be tough to get into the team.
"But this has to be good for the club because it means Rafa has options and he can choose the players he feels are best suited for a particular game.
"From a player's point of view it isn't easy because you want to play all the time but if you are at a top club like Liverpool you know you will have to fight for your place and it is the same for me as it is for everyone."
Lucas is expected to start for the Reds against Crewe in the Carling Cup third round on Tuesday and he is looking forward to the opportunity to impress.
"I want to play in every game whether it is in the Carling Cup, the FA Cup, the Premier League or the Champions League," he added.
"For me the Carling Cup is an important competition because it is another trophy to play for and it also gives us a chance to build up our confidence.
"We will now have to wait to find out what team Rafa wants to play against Crewe but I will be ready if I am picked."