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The midfielder has endured a torrid time with injury problems at Anfield, but claims he is back to his best after a positive start to pre-season

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is delighted with his pre-season progress and claims to be feeling around 50 per cent fitter than he did last campaign.

After missing the majority of 2011-12 with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the Brazilian picked up a thigh problem at the beginning of last campaign that ruled him out for three months and claims he is only now returning to full fitness.

"I'm feeling 50-60% better than I was last season," he told the club’s official website.

"The last six months I played were really important for me. I needed to get games and sessions, and this season now I'm feeling strong and feeling that I'm in the shape I was before the injury.

"Now I've got to improve the fitness and build confidence, but I'm really happy with the way pre-season has started."

The 26-year-old was voted the Reds’ Player of the Season after his previous injury-free campaign in 2011, but has made just 38 Premier League appearances in the two years since then.

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