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Leiva targets United comeback

ESPN staff
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Lucas Leiva wants to prove he is fit and ready to play for Brazil at the World Cup © PA Photos
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Lucas Leiva has declared himself fit for Liverpool's Premier League visit to Manchester United on Sunday as he bids to secure a place in Brazil's World Cup squad.

The midfielder, 27, has been out of action since suffering medial knee ligament damage during the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Anfield on Jan. 18.

But he stepped up his comeback by playing a full 90 minutes for Liverpool's Under-21 side as they beat West Ham 2-0 last Friday.

He now feels ready to play some part at Old Trafford this weekend as Liverpool bid to put some pressure on leaders Chelsea and strengthen their grip on a Champions League spot.

Brendan Rodgers' side - unbeaten in the Premier League in 2014 - lie second going into the weekend's fixtures, seven points behind Chelsea but with a game on hand.

"It was really good for me to get going again and try to improve my fitness," Lucas told Liverpool's website.

"I was lucky that I wasn't out for a long time and I'm now looking forward to first-team action. I hope I'll be able to help the team again for the next 10 games because we know how important they are.

"I felt really good after the game and I'm looking forward to the next two months."

In addition to pushing for Champions League qualification and the title at Liverpool, Lucas is also chasing a place at this summer's World Cup in his native Brazil.

The midfielder played his first internationals for nearly two years when he was selected for friendlies against South Korea and Zambia last October, then figuring in Brazil's final four fixtures of 2013.

But his injury ruled him out of the 5-0 win over South Africa in Johannesburg on March 5 and he knows that a spot in Luis Felipe Scolari's squad is far from secure.

Leiva said: "It's a massive two months for me, especially looking towards the World Cup at the end of the season as well, so I can't afford to miss many more games.

"I knew the injury wasn't too bad. I knew something happened but of course I was disappointed I wouldn't be able to make the last international game.

"When you are out of the international team and squad there is always someone else who will have a chance to impress.

"The competition for places in the Brazil squad is so big, so that's why I'm really confident that if I have a good two months ahead then I will have a chance to play at the World Cup. "That would be like a dream for me -- playing for my country in Brazil."

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