The Brazilian had only just returned to the Liverpool side after a lengthy spell on the treatment table before suffering a new setback this season.

Rodgers has hailed the midfielder's patience and said Lucas deserved praise for the way he handled himself.

"I've been delighted with Lucas. We were very wary of the fact he had had a serious knee injury last season and then obviously another problem on top of that this season," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"It was important for the team to get him back but it was important for him that we did so at the right pace and that we paced his recovery right.

"It is a big credit to him as a professional. He has worked so hard and his attitude and his application have been first class. He deserves every praise for the way he has conducted himself."

While Rodgers is pleased with Lucas' return, he believes the former Gremio will take until at least the start of next season to hit his best form.

"I still believe, having worked with these kind of injuries in the past, that it won't be until the summer, and beyond even, that we see him back at full level," he said.

"It will be great for him to get a full pre-season with the group under his belt but you can see in recent games that his mobility and the speed of his game is getting better and better all the time.

"He's been fantastic."