Lucas Leiva allowed himself a brief moment to ponder the positive ramifications of the result after the Brazilian helped Liverpool battle to a vital 3-2 victory over Norwich City on Sunday.

The headline news from Carrow Road was perhaps that the Reds had opened up a healthy five-point advantage at the very top of the Barclays Premier League, ahead of Chelsea and Manchester City.

Another consequence, however, was the guarantee of a return to Champions League football next season, with Brendan Rodgers' side booking a berth in the group stages of the elite competition.

Having tasted the unique flavour of those famed European nights at Anfield, Lucas was naturally beaming with the achievement; it didn't take long for that 'we go again' attitude to kick in, though.

"It's fantastic," the midfielder told Liverpoolfc.com. "I said last week, I have been here for seven years and this is probably the first time that we really feel we have a chance.

"The last few years have been so difficult for us and the fans as well. We still haven't done the job, but one thing we have achieved is the Champions League - it was the main target for us at the beginning of the season - with no qualifiers, straight to the group stage.

"We will have more time in pre-season. One target is achieved, now we can carry on and think about the title."

The Canaries were determined to bring the Reds' assault on the Premier League crashing down, with Gary Hooper and Robert Snodgrass both registering to push their visitors all the way.

An 11th consecutive triumph in the division was ultimately secured for Rodgers' charges, however, with the resolve, character and camaraderie seen so often this season on display once more.

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Lucas continued: "It's one of the key things - togetherness, character and quality as well. The goals we scored today showed that we have the understanding.

"The players have the understanding between each other. It just shows that we are going the right way.

"Three games to go and hopefully we can keep this good run going. If we win the three games, we will be champions. We knew how important this game was, especially after the results for City and Chelsea.

"People are talking about the pressure that we are having to play with - but I think we showed again that we have a lot of confidence. It doesn't matter who plays, the team is doing well. That's the main thing.

"We got the three points. In the first half, we dominated the game. We knew in the second half they had to come out and try to do something; they got an early goal, which made it difficult for us.

"But at the end, we showed a lot of character and we got the three points. That's the main thing."

The No.21 was included from the start for the first time since the middle of January, as Rodgers was forced to make a pair of alterations to his starting line-up.

Jordan Henderson's three-match suspension, coupled with the hamstring injury afflicting Daniel Sturridge, offered Lucas and midfield colleague Joe Allen an opportunity to impress.

"Jordan has played every game for the club this season and is doing a fantastic job," said Lucas. "But any player coming in tries to do well for the team. It was no different for me and Joe.

"Of course, Sturridge and Jordan are important players for us, but we showed we have players that can come on, keep the level of performance and still get three points."