Should Brendan Rodgers call on the services of Lucas Leiva to face Norwich City on Sunday, the Brazilian midfielder will be ready, willing and able to step into the breach.

A suspension for Jordan Henderson and the injury concern affecting Daniel Sturridge mean the manager may have to shuffle his Liverpool pack at Carrow Road this weekend.

Waiting patiently - but with fervent hope - for the opportunity to aid the Reds' push at the summit of the Barclays Premier League is Lucas, who last started a fixture on January 12.

A knee problem suffered later that month left the No.21 unable to contribute as his teammates rapidly gathered pace and forged the foundation of a 10-match winning streak.

Since returning to the squad in March, Lucas has been restricted to a handful of substitute appearances - so he is naturally anxious for the chance to be involved once more.

"I've been working very hard since I got back; my chances have been very limited," he reflected to this week. "But I'm ready if the manager needs me.

"He needed me against West Ham at half-time and I think I did a good job. Now I just have to be ready, if the chance comes, to be at the same level as the team that is playing - then see what's going to happen."

The 27-year-old was introduced at the break against the Hammers a fortnight ago and crucially swung the encounter in the Reds' favour during his 45-minute run-out.

In addition to providing balance in Rodgers' midfield set-up, Lucas delivered the through ball which eventually brought Liverpool a penalty and with it the winner for Steven Gerrard.

Afterwards, the captain compared his colleague's pass to those that fans are more regularly used to seeing from the elegant feet of compatriot Philippe Coutinho.

The words meant a lot to Lucas.

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"I said thank-you to Stevie, because he knows how important it is for me to play," he revealed.

"I'm a player who always works to play at the weekend, and when I don't, of course it's always hard. It was an important game for me; I tried to be very focused and calm, like I am normally.

"I had a chance to pick the pass to [Jon] Flanagan, we got the penalty and won the game as he [Gerrard] scored. I have to just be ready, and whatever position you play in, you just have to make sure you do your best and see if you get a reward for that."

Lucas was on the field at Anfield last Sunday as the full-time whistle was blown to confirm that Rodgers' outfit had overcome rivals Manchester City 3-2.

The midfielder was therefore in a prime position to witness the passionate team-talk delivered by Gerrard after the victory - and three more crucial points - had been secured.

He said: "We know how much it means for him and how many years he has been fighting. He has been playing here for years and never won the Premier League.

"Now he feels we have a chance. Not just for him, but for everyone else. I feel as well, with my seven years here, I have probably been through one of the worst times of the club - the period where we were not competing.

"I always believed that we could get to the stage that we are now. I think everyone feels the same and I think that's why the team is showing a lot of confidence and belief that we can go game by game and achieve what we want."

The Brazil international has been the subject of specific praise by Rodgers, who highlighted the experience and support being offered in training by the man who joined the club in 2007.

Modest as usual, Lucas insisted that such tasks fall under his responsibility - and, indeed, those of every team member as Liverpool search for success in their final four games of the season.

"It has been a very difficult period for me," he admitted. "Before the injury, I probably played 95 per cent of the games. Now, with Stevie playing in the holding position, I know my chances will be very small.

"I have to try to be positive for myself but also my teammates. You try to help the way you can and see if we can win this together, because the whole season counts; we're having a good season, and of course we have had a very good run in the last 10 games but it wouldn't count if we had had a bad start.

"Everyone that is involved has a part to play and that's why I always think I have to be ready."