Liverpool media round-up: Lucas in squad contention, Balotelli talks, Firmino closer to first start

Anfield Pitch

A selection of the latest stories in the media involving Liverpool Football Club this Monday morning.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva could play a part in tonight's game at Arsenal, according to the Daily Mirror, despite being strongly linked with a move to Besiktas.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has left the Brazilian out of the squad entirely for the first two games of the season but with a foot injury to Jordan Henderson likely to keep the Reds skipper sidelined, Rodgers says the Brazilian will come into contention for tonight's trip to the Emirates Stadium.

The same report suggests that Mario Balotelli has been given a few days off to return to Italy, and that the banished striker's most likely destination is Lazio.

However a different report from the Mirror suggests that talks are taking place between Liverpool and AC Milan for the forward to return to the San Siro on a season-long loan.

Their general manager Adriano Galliani is quoted telling Italian media: "We're in talks with Liverpool to bring him back on loan. We've not reached an agreement yet about how much of his wage we will have to pay and how much they will pay."

Roberto Firmino has been giving a series of interviews speaking about his arrival at the club after making the switch from Hoffenheim this summer.

Firmino has so far made two substitute appearances for the Reds as he adapts to life at Anfield and is quoted in the Liverpool Echo suggesting the side should be competing towards the top of the Premier League.

He said: “Obviously Liverpool is a great club and as a great club Liverpool has to be fighting for big things.

“We have to be at the top so we will be fighting for a Champions League spot for next year and hoping to finish as high as we can in the Premier League.”

Brendan Rodgers appears to suggest that Firmino is getting closer to his first start for the Reds after keeping a close eye on him in training. 

The Liverpool boss is quoted in the Liverpool Echo, saying: “Firmino has looked good in training, as each week goes by he’s getting fitter and stronger. He’s a real worker. I’ve been impressed with his quality but his ability to work and press the game is one of the key things for us when we were bringing him in. And he really understands the pressure and the intensity. He’s come from a league which is physical."

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