Lucas Leiva has hailed the impact that Javier Mascherano has had on his emergence in the Liverpool first XI.
Reds midfielder targets Europa League glory
Lucas Leiva has hailed the impact that fellow midfielder Javier Mascherano has had on his emergence in the Liverpool first XI and has called on his team-mates to end their three-year wait for silverware this season.
Lucas has been an ever-present in Reds' engine room this term after the summer sale of Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid, while the Spaniard's replacement - Alberto Aquilani - has yet to start a game following his recovery from an ankle injury.
The Anfield faithful have signalled their approval of the 22-year-old in recent weeks, with the 2007 signing beginning to show the pedigree which heralded him as the Brazilian league's best player prior to his move to Merseyside.
Lucas has had his doubters during his time at Liverpool, but the Brazil international insists they will never faze him and has praised his fellow South American ball-winner for helping him grow into the Reds shirt.
"I'm trying to improve all the time but I'm feeling good on the pitch," he told the club's official website
. "I think I've improved a lot since last season and hopefully I'll keep going.
"I think things might always be more difficult for me at Liverpool, to be honest, but I'm trying to prove I can do well for myself and my team-mates. The real supporters of Liverpool know this and support me a lot.
"When I came to Liverpool I came with a challenge of winning titles and making history for the club. Hopefully I can do that.
"I'm playing almost every game now. I have a good link with Javier Mascherano. I understand the way he plays and he helps me a lot. I think it's good for the team that we can keep the balance."
Lucas has targeted his first trophy in Liverpool colours by the end of the 2009/2010 campaign, identifying the Europa League as an attainable honour after the Reds' untimely exit out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
He added: "We have to move on. We didn't do enough to get to the next stage and so now we have to concentrate on the Europa League and getting into a better position domestically.
"We'll try to win the Europa League because it's still an important competition. Some good teams play in it and we'll try to get a title for ourselves."