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Lucas relying on Gerrard return

Published: Tuesday 22 April 2008, 1.45CET
Lucas Leiva is hoping that Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard will be fit to take on Chelsea FC – even if the Brazilian international loses his own place in the team.
by John Mathews
from Liverpool
Lucas relying on Gerrard return
Lucas Leiva is hoping to be celebrating again in the semi-finals ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

LiverpoolChelsea

Goals scored29
 
20
Attempts on target77
 
86
Attempts off target66
 
97
Corners71
 
61
Offsides32
 
50
Fouls committed188
 
217
Yellow cards17
 
17
Red cards1
 
1

Matches

22 April 2008

Liverpool
1-1
Chelsea

23 April 2008

Barcelona
0-0
Man. United
 
Published: Tuesday 22 April 2008, 1.45CET

Lucas relying on Gerrard return

Lucas Leiva is hoping that Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard will be fit to take on Chelsea FC – even if the Brazilian international loses his own place in the team.

Lucas Leiva hopes Liverpool FC captain Steven Gerrard will be fit for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Chelsea FC – even if it means missing out on a place in the team himself.

Injury fears
Gerrard sat out Saturday's 2-0 win at Fulham FC having damaged his neck in training, raising doubts about his participation at Anfield as Liverpool face Chelsea in the last four for the third time in four seasons. However, the England midfielder has returned to training and is expected to play, probably at the expense of Lucas – who will be more than happy to stand aside if Liverpool have their inspirational leader back in the starting lineup. "Gerrard is our captain and a very good player," said the twice-capped Brazilian international. "He can score a lot of goals, helping the team a lot, so I think he is one of our most important players and hopefully he will be fit."

Helping hand
Asked whether he believes he will feature against Chelsea, the 21-year-old midfielder, who has made six appearances in this season's competition, replied: "I don't know – you will have to ask the manager. Of course I would like to play because it will be a very good game. When I came to Liverpool, I wanted to be involved in games like these, so hopefully I will help the team. If I stay on the bench, I will also try to help."

Domestic distraction
With Chelsea fighting for trophies on two fronts, having closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United FC before those sides meet on Saturday, there have been suggestions that Avram Grant's men may be distracted from the task at hand against Liverpool. Lucas thinks otherwise. "We know how much Chelsea are trying to win the Premier League and also the Champions League, but we are also focused on the league because we need to guarantee fourth place," said the player signed from Grêmio Foot-ball Porto Alegrense last year. "I think it will be the same for both teams."

Anfield ambition
The Merseysiders have won the clubs' two previous semi-final meetings in this tournament, although they had home advantage in the second leg in both cases. This time the situation is reversed, and Lucas promises that Liverpool will give 100 per cent for their "amazing" fans in order to build a lead to defend in the return fixture in west London on 30 April. "It's always important to win, especially the first game because we would have more confidence for the away game," he said. "We have the first game at home, with our supporters behind us, and it's better if we can win with a clean sheet because we know how difficult it is to play at Stamford Bridge."

Last updated: 22/04/08 21.48CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15108/match=301912/prematch/focus/index.html#lucas+relying+gerrard+return

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