Lucas Leiva is 'another piece' of Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool plan
Brendan Rodgers could not hide his delight after watching Lucas Leiva return to Liverpool's starting line-up.
Last Updated: 02/12/12 9:31am
The Brazilian midfielder made his comeback from a three-month absence due to a thigh injury in Saturday's 1-0 win over Southampton.
And Rodgers was even surprised by the quality of performance from Lucas, who has become a key man for Liverpool over the years, as he lasted 88 minutes.
Rodgers told his post-match press conference: "I thought he was excellent. He's come so far in training, I felt I needed to get him into the games.
"He's another piece to what we're trying to do here and you have seen the difference he makes when he's in the team.
"He offers the team great stability and he can deal with the ball, which is important.
"My plan was to give him 60-65 minutes but he was comfortable and it was probably only in the last 10 minutes that he started to tire, which is when I took him off.
"It was a very, very good performance for him and it's great to see him back playing."
Lucas was offered a standing ovation when he left the field to be replaced by Jamie Carragher and he later admitted his gratitude.
He said on Twitter: "Very important 3 points and very happy to be able to play almost full game. Thanks for the reception that I got, it was amazing."