LONDON - 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 will play friendlies against Toronto, Italian side Roma and Premier League club Tottenham 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."