Lucas in pledge to beef up

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva will spend more time this summer improving his physical presence on the pitch to catch-up with the tougher English Premier League.

The 22-year-old Brazilian, who was signed from Gremio in 2007, has been dipping in and out of the Reds first team since his arrival as a regularly used squad player.

But now Lucas wants to show Benitez that he can make the step up and improve his game physically to compete for a first team place with fellow central midfielders Steven Gerrard, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso.

He says, “I feel I have improved a lot. I’m doing some special work to get physically stronger. I feel more confident with more power so hopefully next season will be my best.”

Lucas started ahead of an unfit Alonso in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over West Brom at The Hawthornes and will be hoping to keep his place in the starting line-up for this Sunday’s final game of the season at home to Tottenham (4pm kick-off).