Lucas Leiva believes his return to the Liverpool team can free up his midfield colleagues to show their creativity, as the Brazilian reflected on a 'perfect' comeback against Southampton.
More than three months after being forced off against Manchester City, Lucas completed a remarkable 88 minutes on Saturday as the Reds recorded a 1-0 victory in the Barclays Premier League.
Now the 25-year-old hopes his defensive abilities will allow the likes of Joe Allen and Steven Gerrard to express themselves further forward as Brendan Rodgers' side attempt to extend a run which has included a single defeat in 10 league matches.
"I didn't have that much time to work with Joe on the pitch because he came towards the end of the pre-season and afterwards I was injured," Lucas explained to Liverpoolfc.com.
"But we could see Joe getting forward to join the attack and create chances - that's what he used to do at Swansea so he feels very comfortable there knowing that we will always be behind the ball and trying to cover.
"I hope I can help in this way to give freedom for him, Stevie, [Jordan] Henderson, [Nuri] Sahin and Jonjo [Shelvey]. That's my job and I'm delighted to be able to help again."
Rodgers had planned to use Lucas for around an hour at Anfield but such was the ease with which the Brazil international slotted back into his role, the manager left him on the field for almost the entire match.
In characteristic fashion, the No.21 insisted there is still room for improvement but revealed that days like Saturday are what fuelled his desire for a return to first-team football.
"The kind of reception I got and to be able to play football - you realise how good it is when you can play every week," Lucas reflected.
"It's what keeps you going and working hard to recover well. Every single day I worked very hard and today I felt every minute was worth it.
"I'm very glad with the way I could perform. In terms of fitness, I was feeling very well. Of course towards the end of the game I was getting tired, that's normal and that's what everyone was expecting.
"I played maybe 15-20 minutes more than the staff thought I could handle - it's positive. There are a lot of things to improve, but for a first game after a long time out it was very good. The win makes it perfect."
Turning his thoughts to the collective, the midfielder echoed recent sentiments from his teammates that progress is being made at Anfield and talked of 'positive things' happening at the club.
Lucas added: "We have been performing well. We had a lot of chances, we could only score one but the most important thing is that we got the three points.
"Especially now at a crucial time, towards Christmas, it's important to get a good run. A lot of teams above us dropped points. We just need to keep believing and we can see a lot of positive things.
"If we can turn draws into wins, it would be ideal. There are a lot of positive things, especially today. We won 1-0 but we dominated for almost 90 minutes.
"We were under pressure for some parts of the game, but we defended well and handled the pressure. It's a long process and we are really happy with the way we are playing. With a bit more luck, we will be higher up the table soon."