Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to make his return from a long-term knee injury two months ahead of schedule, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed.
The Brazilian was ruled out last November when he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, but Rodgers revealed he plans to give the 25-year-old some game time on the pre-season tour of North America.
Liverpool will play friendlies against Toronto, Roma and Tottenham as they prepare for the new season. Rodgers told www.lfctour.com: "He'll have some involvement. He's still got some way to go to get back to where he was before the injury but he's back two months early."
He added: "This is normally a nine-month injury. He's been back in seven, and that's great credit to his work and the work of the medics here.
"He's done very, very well and is working very hard. We can feed him into some of the games and increase his mental capacity to improve, because obviously it was a serious injury.
"He's a great guy, he loves his football, loves this club, and he's making great progress."
And Rodgers did not rule out Lucas featuring in the first game of the tour against MLS side Toronto on Saturday.
He said: "We shall see. The maximum any player will play on Saturday is 45 minutes."