7 Dec 2009

What's the point? JAVIER MASCHERANO wants to leave, so just let him go!

Despite the fact that Javier Mascherano wanted to leave only a few months ago, Rafa Benitez is still trying his best to tie the Argentinean to a long-term contract. What's the point? Why can’t Liverpool just let him leave? There seems to be this idea that Mascherano is somehow irreplaceable and integral to Liverpool’s success, but in my view, Liverpool could cope perfectly well without him.

Let's look at the facts:

FACT 1: July 2009

Mascherano’s brother, Sebastian, told Spain's COM Radio:

“If Barcelona really come with a very good cash offer, I believe Javier may leave Liverpool as it would be the best for him and his family. But I think that if there is no good offer, they will not let him go. I am sure Messi and Javier have spoken. Leo is one of the people who have been pushing the most for Javier to play at Barca".

Would such a statement have been made without Mascherano’s knowledge? I think not.

FACT 2: AGUST 2009:

Rafa Benitez blocked a proposed move to Barcelona and later revealed that Mascherano was ‘disappointed’ at having to stay at Liverpool:

“I had to talk to Javier a little bit. Barcelona is a top side, so if a club like Barcelona, who won three trophies in the last year, are interested it’s not easy for any player.

“We told Javier he was so important for us and we wanted to keep him. He was a bit disappointed as it was a fantastic opportunity with a big club. But he is happy here, and as a player and a person you can trust him 100%.”

Over the weekend, Benitez revealed that he had held further talks with Mascherano:

"We were talking with him and his agent a month ago about our idea and his idea. He's doing really well and has come back to his best. We were really pleased to talk to him to make progress.

"We have plenty of time but we are happy with him and he is happier now, too. He has two more years on his contract; we were talking before and we will sit down sooner rather than later and talk about the future. The last conversations that we had were very positive."

What difference are future talks going to make? Mascherano wanted to leave; are we really expected to believe that a player who was 'disappointed' to be staying at Liverpool has suddenly changed his mind and now wants to stay?!

And let's remember one crucial thing here: Masch wanted to leave when Liverpool were on a high: The club had finished on 86 points in the Premiership, and CL football for the coming season was assured.

Since then, the club has endured its worst run is 50 years; is out of the Champions League, and will struggle to qualify for next year's tournament.

So why would Mascherano suddenly change his mind when things are worse now?!

He can probably see - like most other clear-headed fans - that Liverpool are going nowhere under Benitez. He probably doesn't fancy spending the next 5 years playing negative football whilst struggling to make the top 4.

Barcelona are seemingly willing to spend a minimum of 30m on the player, so Liverpool should just sell him before his value starts to plummet. What is the point in keeping an unhappy player whose head has clearly been turned?

Mascherano is not AND SHOULD NOT be the lynchpin of the team. I'm sick of having the team built around defensive-minded players like Masch, Lucas and Kuyt. I want the emphasis to be on progressive, attacking football, not dour safety-first, ultra-cautious anti-football.

Defensive midfield is not a priority position for Liverpool at the moment. The money from Masch's sale could help fund a back-up striker, a top class central defender, and/or a top class left-back/left winger.

Mascherano is not irreplaceable, and it is surely possible to find players who can do a similar, if not better job than him, isn't it? Apparently not. The rabid blind-faith brigade will redirect some of their total and misguided faith in Benitez toward Mascherano, and claim that he is:

* The best DM in the world
* Irreplaceable
* Integral to Liverpool's success
* Integral to the spine of the team
* The only player in world football good enough in CM for Liverpool (In the same way that Benitez is the only manager good enough to manager Liverpool)

Considering how he is supposed to be an integral part of the defensive side of the team, how has the club benefited this season from his alleged status as 'the best defensive midfielder in the world'?

A couple of weeks ago, I highlighted 13 reasons why Liverpool should sell Mascherano. I stand by those reasons. Liverpool should sell Mascherano to the highest bidder.

And there is no better time to do this than January 2010. Liverpool are already out of the CL and (arguably) out of the Premiership race. We have a ready made replacement in Lucas (His OPTA stats for tacking/passing compare favourably with Masch), and with Aquilani to come into the team, there is no reason to think the club won't make the top 4.

The question is do we *really* think that selling Masch will impact our chances of getting into the top 4? If fans really think that, then we have a serious problem. Defensive play should not take priority over attacking and scoring goals, and the only way Liverpool are going to make it into the top 4 is by winning games...and the only way to do that is to score goals.

In this regard, Masch offers absolutely nothing to the team. To be fair, neither does Lucas, but there isn't a potential 30m offer on the table for him.

Liverpool will not wither and die without Mascherano! Just sell him and get it over with already.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. It´s funny that Benitez doesn´t give up and just sell Masch. Because when Alonso wanted to leave Benitez said that you can´t stop a player who wants to go, even if the player is under contract. How come this doesn´t apply on Mascherano. It´s beacause Benitez loves defensive players and any player that crosses him, as Alonso did with his wish to attend his daughter´s birth, is doomed to be sold by the unforgiving Spaniard. He should take a look at Martin O´Neill and how he treated Nigel Reo-Coker after their bust-up. O´Neill calmed the situation down by resting Reo-Coker in a couple of games, and in the meantime probably talked to him about the whole thing. (Heard about that method Benitez?). And after a few games Reo-Coker returned to the side - as captain! That is what I call humility,  grace an cleverness from a manager. (Heard about that Benitez?)

  2. let him go. get top money and sell lucas, and kuyt. and buy class replacements....

  3. Hey JK,
    Ur points are valid. But im sure there are reasons why Benitez is adamant that he stays (Apart from the fact that he could arguably be one of the best in his position). One reason that comes straight to my mind is the fact that Masch is the captain of Argentina--and an integeral part of the Argentinian set-up. Being the captain of one of the most talented football playing nations has to factor somewhere. Take Insua for example. I think his sudden rise to prominence is part due to the fact that he has to not just impress Rafa at Melwood, but Masch too. Masch is the key to his recent call ups. Also, by being the captain of Argentina, Masch is our biggest Mascot in South America. The missing flair, that we all moan and groan about, can ignited by say a young Argentianian, who could be the new "Messi" and who would wanna join Liverpool cos of Masch. Far fetched, i agree, but possible. A lot of talented youngsters in Argentina could find it hard to refuse a chance to shine with their captain.

    In this regard, Masch is and will be much more important that Xabi could ever me.

  4. In this regard, Masch is and will be much more important that Xabi could ever BE.

  5. Get rid of Masch adn keep Babel, boy you know your football!!!  Now, lets look at the FACTS.  Mascherano has not said a word.  There are no quotes from him - if he signs a new deal, it will be because he wants to and not because he wants to join Barca.  He might just think that before he met Rafa, he was struggling to get a game for West Ham and now he captains his country.  Babel, has been quoted, on more than once occasion, saying that he has had enough and wants to leave.  And you think that he should play even though whenever he does, he is terrible (give or take the odd bit of class).

  6. how can a team who scored the most prem goals last year, got beat fewer times than anyone and spanked real madrid 5-0, (in one of the most scintillating demolitions of one of europe's top clubs ever witnessed) be defensive minded? we have had no luck this season. the only games we have desrved to lose were day one against tottenham and also fiorentina. As long as we beat the scum and the sh**e, i'm happy. Mascherano is quality... IN RAFA WE TRUST!

  7. Yeah great point. lets just say he did sell him. how long before the media start a massive campaign about how we cant cope without him, confidence is affected, we start losing games and everyone highlights Benitez as an idiot for selling him. Mascha is one of 5 world class players at the club and we should keep him. the conract issues is about money not commitment mascharano is currently only on about £30k per week!

  8. <span>"Defensive play should not take priority over attacking and scoring goals, and the only way Liverpool are going to make it into the top 4 is by winning games...and the only way to do that is to score goals."</span>

    You are wrong. Winning the games is the only way to win the league. When your priority is to get to top 4 draws are not badery as you need the scrapy points (to get to the T4 you need 65-70 points and to win the league you need 85-90 points)

    The less ambitious targets the more important not to loos a game.

    And I strongly disaagree with this emphasis on atacking play. I much more value 2:0 win than 4:2 (and1-0 over 2-1 and 3-0 over 4-1). How about you Jaimie?

  9. One more thing.

    How do you know Benietz doesnt want to sell Mascherano? To get the best price you need to make impresion you dont want to sell. Do you always believe what you are told Jaimie?

  10. I'd rather sell wastful Riera and Babel than Lucas, who is constantly improving.

  11. Wake up - just because there are no direct quotes from him doesn't mean anything.  Did you not read the quotes from Benitez in the article?!  He states that Mascherano was 'disappointed' that he couldn't leave.  Or are Benitez's own words on the subject unreliable?

    And don't misrepresent my argument - Where did I say we should keep Babel?  I actiually argued  he should be allowed to leave in the january transfer window.  I have never argued that we should keep him, only that whilst he his here, he should be treated fairly.

  12. So we should keep players just because we're afraid of what the media will say?! Right.

  13. So we should keep a player who clearly wants to leave just because he is captain of Argentina?  So what.  We have to do what's best for the team, and Mascherano stated he was 'disappointed' to stay in the summer.

    And I think people are missing the point I tried to make in the article: Mascherano wanted to leave in the summer when Liverpool were on a high: CL football assured; 86 points in the league.

    How can he be 'happier' now that Liverpool are out of CL, struggling to make 4th place, and out of league contention alltogether?!

    It doesn't make sense: he wants to leave when we'reon a high but suddenly wants to stay when our season is in the toilet?!

    Come on, let's get real here.

  14. Hey, i never said we should keep him/ or not, just because he is the captain of Arg. He is one of the best in his position. Also, like i said, ur points are valid. Masch wasnt happy. But there could be many reasons for tht, including the contract he is on.
    All i am trying to do is rationalise why Rafa wants him this bad.

    Very real.

  15. I was rather happy to hear that they had started contract talks...if Mascherano decides to stay, that is actually a good thing and I don't see how you can claim otherwise. You keep on spewing out these stats, but sorry, stats do not tell you the whole story - your stats may tell you that a player has completed more passes or made more tackles, but do they tell you how important a tackle was or how effective the pass was? Do they tell you how Masch chased down an attacker and whipped the ball off him before he had a chance to shoot? Do they tell you that the tackle he made blocked a potential goal scoring opportunity? Do they tell you that the pass he made helped set up an attack that led to a goal? Do they tell you that 99% of Lucas's passes are sideways or that the majority of his tackles end up being freekicks?

    All I can say is thank God you aren't manager of Liverpool...the fact you think letting Masch go and relying on Lucas is a good idea is rather worrying...I would also like to see who the three replacements would be for 30 million...more kuyt and lucas standard players I would think...lets also not forget that should one of lucas or aquilani get injured, then who exactly is going to be in our midfield? Spearing?

  16. Completely agree. I'd drop him off for in excess of £30 million. He's a good player, not great, and is anything but irreplacable.

  17. Selling him now would be crazy!!  To have any chance at all of getting in to the top 4 the last thing we should do is sell Mach in January.  If he wants to go then he has to be in the summer.  His value isnt going to go down, but bringing in a new payer takes time to blend into the team, plus its only worth replacing him with a player who is as good, and world class players are thin on the ground in Jan.

    In my opinion is we should try and keep here for the long-term, if he signs then great, if he doesnt sign then he should be shown the door after the final whistle of the last game of the season.

  18. No direct quotes from Mascherano.

    BUT........he kissed the badge when he scored (thought he scored) against Everton.

    Speaks volumes to me.

    Unless you hear him say he wants to go then give him a break and believe that this world class stopper wants to be here.....Please!!

    Don't get me wrong, there is not alot Masch can do if the club want him out for £40 million and his discussions with family members or others who leak info out may only relate to the 'if the club want to sell me' scenarios.

  19. Feels like we've been here before on Masch and to assert that only blindly loyal Benitez fans would think he's worth keeping is ludicrous. It's possible to have doubts about Rafa but still have a lot of faith in Masch.

    Purely my own view but I think Masch gets type-cast very easily, yes he's a very defensively minded midfielder but that's even more important for an attacking team; Dunga, Deschamps, Makele - all great DM's playing crucial roles in attack minded, successful teams. However, this season, if people have been watching they may just have noticed Masch spraying the odd 40yrd diagonal ball and having a fair few pots at goal.. one of which won the derby.. to think he's easily replaceable is... optimistic at best. 
    As mentioned above, he's one of only 5 (4 for me) truly world class players at the club and selling him makes zero sense to me.

    If we should instantly cash in on players who have had their heads turned then I can only assume you seethe with the indignity of Gerrard being our captain - I mean, christ, that guy's got no loyalty at all - two summers on the bounce he nearly left the club that made him, the ungrateful little oik. 

  20. Riera actually was the most dangerous player the game before last and the 2nd goal was masterminded by him alone. I wouldnt sell him.

  21. Gerrard also wanted to leave to taste the greener grass.  My question to you jamie is, is it impossible for a player to change his mind?

    also, how many goals do mikel, song, palacios, viera, hrgreaves score in a season..not many.  You cannot expect someone who is fulfuling a particular role to abandon his responsibilities looking for goals.  Silly billy.

  22. Gerrard also wanted to leave to taste the greener grass.  My question to you jamie is, is it impossible for a player to change his mind?

    also, how many goals do mikel, song, palacios, viera, hrgreaves score in a season..not many.  You cannot expect someone who is fulfuling a particular role to abandon his responsibilities looking for goals.  Silly billy.

  23. I dont believe ANYTHING the media says nowadays. Did you hear? Torres's cousins sisters mothers uncle on the illegitimate family's side say that fernando wants to move to Watford.

  24. Anyone who doesn't want to be there can go, if the price is right, imo.

    Masch is not a superstar of world football and if he goes we've got one less sideways/backways first scardeycat on the team. Good thing.

    I'd prefer we got rid of SG first though. Shambolic. Huffs and puffs when his wee friend isn't there (Torres), does absolutely nothing for the team (won't keep in position, rarely passes to 'lesser' players), and dives like it's going out of fashion. Embarrasment to his own history.

  25. ...and i thought Masch was defensive.

  26. Great point, when torres doesn't play neither <span>can</span> Gerrard.  Does torres tal him through games?  he has been pretty substandard playing as a second striker this season but he is adding turns and tricks to his game to make him more effective.  People always say the hardest season for a striker is his second.  I do believe Gerrard is now finding this out.

  27. Rafa's "positive" comments about the contract for Masch may be the trick to keep his potential price high in January. If he said that Masch is still "unhappy" and the club are looking to offload him in January there would be no 30 M offers.

  28. Rafa's "positive" comments about the contract for Masch may be the trick to keep his potential price high in January. If he said that Masch is still unhappy and the club are looking to offload him in January there would be no 30 M offers.

  29. Here we go again. Sell Mascherano and Benetiz doesnt know what he is doing. All Benetiz supporters are Blind and Those that want him to go are always right. In some articles JK will only accept something as being fact but in Mascheranos case because it suits him a quote by his aunties, uncles brother will do.
    Dont stop at Mascherano lets go through them all.
    Insua to slow not good enough
    Lucas Ha Ha your having a Laugh
    Kuyt there comes a point when hard work is not enough
    Gerrard last had a good game in a red shirt in February 2009
    Torres to injury prone sell.
    Before you start having a pop JK think irony.
    We have 5 players in our first team who you could almost guarentee would walk into any of the top four or five teams
    Reina, Torres, Gerrard, Johnson and Mascharano we would be foolish to allow him to leave.

  30. I hate to say this but Darren Fletcher has been much better than Masch. Fletcher has been better at passing, shooting and scoring as well tackeling and whinge at refs this season. However the best in that position are Yaya Toure and Essien. If we get 30mil for a defensive player then lets bite there hand off and take it and in the process buy 2 to 3 quality replacements. My choice will be Jean Makoun from Lyon.

  31. in our current situation when the back 4 have been looking shaky and are starting to rebuild confidence, its crucial to keep players of the stature and experience of masch.

    Insua and Lucas (although given a hard time by me and others this season) are being given games and experience to develop into good players [hopefully]. Playing alongside Masch is so important to Lucas. Each will develop into cover for the other. If we sell Masch and Lucas gets injured/suspended what cover do we have? Its 2 players per position and Lucas/Masch should be competing for the same position in the long term.

    The squad lacks quality in depth and you condone selling one of those players, how on earth are we supposed to build a squad with that attitude. 

    **3rd consecutive clean sheet in Saturday was welcome, a better quality penalty area would've seen us win.

  32. I hate to say this but, this comparison is kinda absurd. Agreed, Fletcher's form has been good and he does chip in with the odd goal, he is not in Masch's class. So lets keep current form aside. Over a season, i would'nt even dream of a swap between 'em.  Essien is King no doubt. Jean Makoun? sorry..

  33. Manchester United 2nd in the league, Carling cup Semi and STILL in the Champs league. Liverpool OUT of the League, Carling Cup and Champs League. United have had a injury hit squad too this season but when Flethcer plays for United they invariably win. Masch has played most of the games in which we lost or drew this season and he brings nothing to the team and some may argue Lucas has been more effective. Jamie K can you get some opta stats on Masch and Fletcher plz.

  34. Masch wanted to leave in the summer, but now who knows, he might have changed his mind. Gerrard think of leaving liverpool as well in the past. So liverpool should sell him too. 

  35. We should not sell our best players. Period. Masch himself has not uttered a single word about wanting a move; until he does, I'll take everything else with a pinch of salt. He's back to his marauding best and he seemed fired-up enough when charging across Goodison towards the red corner last week. Don't throw Opta stats around. He's an Argie Barnstormer in Red and one of the most tenacious players in the world. Sell Monster Masch? No Way Jamie!!!

  36. Billium - why do you ignore Rafa's comments?  They prove that Masch wanted to leave?  Do ignore them just proves you're in denial.  Benitez said:

    <span><span>I had to talk to Javier a little bit. Barcelona is a top side, so if a club like Barcelona, who won three trophies in the last year, are interested it’s not easy for any player.</span></span>

    <span><span>“We told Javier he was so important for us and we wanted to keep him. He was a bit disappointed as it was a fantastic opportunity with a big club. But he is happy here, and as a player and a person you can trust him 100%</span></span>

    JM doesn't have to say anything himself.  That's not what usually happens anyway.  Benitez's comments prove that JM wanted to leave.

  37. but he also says - <span><span>he is happy here, and as a player and a person you can trust him 100%</span></span>  
    He WAS a bit disappointed ... but isnt now.
    So if we believe Rafas words about him wanting to leave , why cant we believe him when he says he is happy now? ( as proved by his recent performances - back to his best)
    so why should we sell a top class player when he is happy? to cash in?
    i am a fan of Lucas but i would rather have masch alongside Aquaman in the centre. He can provide the platform for our more attacking players.

  38. tell me something? where are the direct quotes from mash himself that he want to leave? ANY player would have thier head turned by barca, but there is no quote from the man himself saying he want to leave, so its not clear not in my book

  39. no jamie benitez coments do not prove he wanted to leave not at all, they prove that a club like barca come in then its going to turn a players head, if he wanted to leave then why not put in a request as xabi did? mash would not want to leave for any club but as a spanish speaker and probably having grown up watching barca and real then yes its going to have an effect on players. theres a difference in wanting to leave and having an opportunity to play for perhaps one of the biggest clubs in the world in a spanish speaking country. things are not always black and white mr k

  40. i knew you'd do something like this from the moment i heard the story I knew it was onlt a matter of time.
    Mascherano is not unhappy at Liverpool.  Of course he was a bit disappointed in being told he couldn't go and play for Barcelona (who wouldn't be) but he's continued to play, and the fact that he's even agreed to begin talks on a new contract shows he's interested in staying.
    He cost Liverpool £17m+ and has gained value since then.  Barcelona stated a last month that they were unwilling to pay even £15m let alone £40m as the rumours suggested.
    Liverpool should not sell him, Lucas is not a ready made replacement for Masch they play differently.  Lucas may be played alongside Masch in defensive midfield but he is really more of a central midfielder and very much so. For the majority of games he'll be found in the centre circle or down the centre of the pitch, Masch will move from side to side, covering other people as they push forward.  Goals scored and goals conceded are not all down the Masch.  It's not his job to set up or score goals, it's his job to begin the move.  It's not his job to do the same thing as the back 4 in preventing goals, it's his job to break up or slow down the opposition attack and if he fails in doing so then the back 4 are still there to their job.

  41. http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/david-maddock/Barcelona-will-never-spend-40m-on-Liverpool-s-Javier-Mascherano-article224129.html

  42. First point, most big clubs in Europe would love to have JM.

    He is a real battler who wears his heart (and euros) on his sleeve,  he is a bit of a mercenary like his mate Carlos Tevez

    He possibly only signed for us to escape the hell he was experiencing at West Ham

    We need to sign him up for as long as possible to maximise the amount of money we get for him. He has 2 years left at end of this season, if we double or triple his pay now on a 5 year deal, we will receive more money from Barca.

    But, it could be a bit of a risk if they target someone else

    On another note, soon it may Aquilani in midfield so we will really need Javier then

  43. Adios Javier - Bienvenue Mathieu! Need more be said?!

  44. bullshit. and by the way Isua is crap!!

  45. Lucas is a turd and you can't polish a turd! He will always be average I have no idea what Benitez sees in him. Oh yeah and so is Kuyt!!

  46. Tell me this Guest are you a social worker or a guidance counsellor cause you talk a load of namby pamby rubbish!!

  47. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this just a re-hash of an article you published a couple of weeks ago?

    The same points against your argument still stand and are bolstered by the managers recent announcement that Javier is happier and more settled now and that the contract talks are going well.

  48. I can do Mascha's job, all you have to do is protect the back four and distribute the ball to players no more than 10 yards away. Go on, gis us a job Rafa

  49. Woah there. Mascherano is the best defensive midfielder in the world and he would be a key player for anyone including Barca. You need a guy like him to anchor the midfield. You just don't need a 'New Steven Gerrard' like Lucas. However if he wants to go we should demand Seydou Keita or Yaya Toure in return. No time for diva behaviour at LFC.

  50. He kissed the badge?? LMAO!!! Yeh cos pro footballers never do that and then leave clubs do they? Unbelievably naive.

  51. That Toure that can't get on the Barc team at the moment been kept out by Busquets same as Keita, why would we give them one of our best players and take one of their reserves.

  52. This guy sums up what's wrong with modern footballers. He wants to leave and plays like crap then new contract negotiations arrive and surprise, surprise he actually puts in improved perfomances. Coincidence? I think not.. Cynical or what?

    Just as his best form for us was when he was on loan and desperate to secure a move to us. He's a water-carrier, and 30M for him would be a great deal but i highly doubt Barca is going to pay that for him.

    He just annoys me, Mascherano with his clearly blatant cynicism..i mean it's not as though his consistently stunning form deserves a new contract anyway but the club has to offer him one to protect his value. This is the way of the modern footballer.

  53. Lol. Yeh i'll have a go at that too. The holding midfielder..the easiest job in football i'd say.

    Defensive midfielder is a well cushy number. You don't have to score goals, don't have to create goals and you actually don't get blamed for goals going in either as the defenders will take all the real flak. What a great life!!!

  54. Sad the way football has evolved in that respect. Souness,Whelan,Mcmahon,Molby..who was a holding midfielder? None of them. All could get forward and support the attack, and all could do their bit defensively too. I grew up watching players like that and so when i see the likes of Mascherano i think he's half a footballer. The defensive half.

  55. Don't mean he's no good. It's an elite team being on the bench is no disgrace. Keita and Toure together for Masch i'd say is a damn good deal.

    Keita chips in with a few goals too and both are better than Lucas imo. I'd ask for both and let them have Masch that would be a good deal for me.

  56. Wake up, just because there are no direct quotes from him means everything.  With the English and Spanish press working in overdrive to create anything that they can sell to the reader.  For several days every source known to man was CERTAIN that Torres would move to City because Liverpool were going nowhere.  Bollocks.  What inside information do any of you have?  Nothing.  You have no idea what Javier Mascherano wants to do and pretending you do is laughable.

  57. 'If he wants to leave, just let him'. A fine ethos by which to run a football club. So if Torres or Reina want to leave, we should 'just let them' too?

  58. This is one of two things IMO.

    It is either:

    all talk, possibly in collusion with Masch, to strengthen our negotiation stance for when Barcelona do come back in. Making them increase any offer which may come in, or,

    Macsh really has indicated he wants to stay and the whole 'I want to go to Barcelona' was a negotiating ploy or he's had a genuine change of heart. If this is the case we would be daft to offload one of our (IMO) star players. He is one of those players who you will miss when he's gone!

    Either way Rafa and LFC are playing it right.