Football - Lucas not back to best yet - Rodgers

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to make his 200th appearance for the club on Monday night against West Brom but manager Brendan Rodgers believes it will be some months before the Brazilian is back to his best.

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Liverpool Midfielder Lucas Leiva (PA Sport)

The 26-year-old was sidelined for nearly nine months after a knee operation last December and although he has made 16 appearances this season his manager knows he needs time.

"Lucas will tell you himself he still has a bit to go," said the Northern Irishman. "When you are out for a year the medics and physiotherapists will tell you to put that time on again before players are back to their best."

He went on: "He is someone that is working ever so hard at his fitness.

"He has shown a great determination and work ethic to get back to that level and his recent performances have shown he is well on his way to that recovery."

While the return of Lucas in his familiar defensive midfield role has brought some solidity to the team it is the fluidity of the team which has impressed Rodgers recently.

"We are showing flexibility in our game," added the Reds boss.

"We know the philosophy and how we want to work but it is important you are pragmatic and you can adapt.

"The players have shown that and that is great for us going forward because as we progress we need that going forward."

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