Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva likes what he has seen of fellow midfielder Joe Allen so far and has high hopes for the Reds’ new recruit in the upcoming season.
Allen has begun training with the Merseyside outfit after his move from Swansea was confirmed last week.
In swapping the Liberty Stadium for Anfield this summer, the 22-year-old Wales international has followed in the footsteps of manager Brendan Rodgers, and Lucas can understand why the new Liverpool boss was so keen to bring Allen with him.
“He had a training session with us and we can see what a quality player he is so hopefully he can be a key player for us during the season,” Lucas said.
“It’s one more player to fight for a place and it’s really good for the club. We need more than 11 players to be successful.’’
The Reds will be looking for a significant improvement on last term’s disappointing eighth- placed finish in the Premier League, and Lucas, who is fit again after missing more than half of last season through injury, says although it will not be easy, the team are targeting a top-four berth.
“Let’s go game by game and see what we are able to achieve, but hopefully we can get a Champions League spot which is what we are looking for,’’ he said.
* Scotland captain Darren Fletcher made his Manchester United return following a lengthy lay-off in a 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen in a benefit match for Dons legend Neil Simpson last night.
The United midfielder had not played since November 22 last year after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition.
The 28-year-old played the final 30 minutes in front of a packed Pittodrie that saw goals from Jonny Hayes and Joe Shaughnessy give the Dons victory over Alex Ferguson’s men, who netted a consolation through Anderson in the closing stages. Speaking about Fletcher’s return, Ferguson said: “It’s been quiet progress for the boy.
“He joined in training a couple of weeks ago and it’s one of those situations where you say: ‘Let’s see how he does because he has had a really difficult time in the last year’.
“Therefore, I wasn’t really placing too much hope in it but let’s see how he does.
“He’s got to the stage now where he feels he needs a game. I let him join Scotland this week but he wanted a game so I said: ‘Come to Aberdeen and join up afterwards’.’’
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