Psychological hurdle for Liverpool star

An injured Liverpool footballer must overcome a psychological hurdle if he is to return to the level of performance he achieved prior to damaging his knee. Lucas Leiva - who has undergone months of physical rehabilitation since the incident in December 2011 - admitted the main challenge will now be in his head.

The midfielder said he considered the possibility that he may never again play as well as he did before the injury, but noted there have been many instances when players sidelined for lengthy periods have come back better than ever.

Lucas said there is no need for him to be frightened by what the future has in store, adding: "Rather than stay protecting myself I need to work on my head as well to come back and play the same way I was playing before."

The Brazilian added he cannot afford to lose the aggressive element of his play, as this was one of the qualities that served him best.

Dr Britt Tajet-Foxell, a Chartered Psychologist who specialises in working with injured dancers and athletes, says: "I don't know the player, but reading what he is saying it sounds like he has the right attitude. With the right expertise there is every chance he may come back an even better player than before the injury."