Lucas Leiva has admitted he was worried the Liverpool fans would forget about him during his lengthy spell out of the team with a thigh injury – but instead the Brazilian has found their warm messages of support inspirational.
The midfielder has been sidelined since August but returned to full training at Melwood and then turned out for the Reds' U21s against Middlesbrough last Friday.
And Lucas explained to Liverpoolfc.com how the support from the manager, his teammates and the fans helped him cope with three months of watching the Reds play from the stands.
Speaking at the launch of the new LFC Foundation Football 4 All centre on the Wirral, Lucas said: "Ever since my first injury, the fans have been very important to me.
"When you don't play, you think that people might forget about you but I think it has been completely the opposite.
"People send me nice messages and they say that they really miss me. So this has given me the confidence to come back.
"The players, on a daily basis, have really supported me. I remember when Luis scored and he had a message for me on his shirt. These are the small things that really mean a lot and they keep you going. Now it's the time for me to repay that and help them.
"Brendan Rodgers has been very good to me since my first day. When he arrived I was just recovering from the knee injury, so he gave me a lot of confidence and was always very clear about his plans for me. He has tried to keep me very calm and not tried to rush me, in terms of my rehabilitation."
At his press conference on Thursday, Rodgers confirmed Lucas will be in the frame to feature in the Reds' clash with Southampton on Saturday.
And Lucas insists the prospect of walking out at Anfield again, for the first time in three months, will feel like something of a fresh start.
"I am really excited to be involved," he said. "As the manager said, I will be available for selection and if I get the opportunity to try to help, I have to be very patient.
"I have been out for a long time, so I think that my performance will get better as I get more games. But I am really looking forward to the weekend. It's another step forward.
"I think it will be like a fresh start for me. I feel stronger and I am really looking forward to meeting the fans again at Anfield. I have been watching games from the stands, and now I want to help the team to get the points that we really need at the moment.
"We are getting to the middle of the season now and it is vital that we start to get more points. December and January are key months for teams in the Barclays Premier League, so it's important for us to get as many points as we can."