Lucas confident for future

The Brazil international was a much-derided figure among fans
during his first three years after signing from Gremio in July
2007. However, following the departure in successive summers of
Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano the 24-year-old has grasped the
challenge of added responsibility and is enjoying the best form of
his Reds career. In January Liverpool tried and failed to sign
Blackpool’s central midfielder Charlie Adam and it seems likely
they will renew their efforts in the summer. Other signings, in
addition to the return of injured captain Steven Gerrard, are
expected but a confident Lucas welcomes the competition it will
bring. “I think every single season is a different season,” said
the Brazilian, who signed a long-term deal last month. “I don’t
think I would sign a new contract if the club did not have a plan
for me in the future. “I am happy with the way I am playing. A lot
of players have come already and I am still here and playing so
that means they believe in my football and my qualities. “Next
season we will see what happens. They will sign players, of course,
but I think I have shown I am capable of being in the team all the
time. “I have to finish well and keep that up next season, improve
and fight for my place.” Only centre-back Martin Skrtel (with 45)
has made more outfield appearances than Lucas (43) this season. In
previous campaigns he was criticised by supporters for being a
favourite of former manager Rafael Benitez but this term has fully
justified the belief the Spaniard had in him when others had their
doubts. Being seen as a key player has also helped build the
player’s self-belief. “This season I am trying to take the
responsibility more than the previous season because a couple of
players have left and I want to step up and show my real
qualities,” he added. “We have to make sure the youngsters are
comfortable and they try everything they can. “They will make
mistakes, as everyone does, but they are doing really well and we
are delighted with the way they have come in and played. “There are
some important players injured but we are on a good run and they
deserve to be playing at the moment.”