When they see Javier Mascherano on Liverpool’s team sheet, attacking midfielders will despair – his tenacity and bite are the perfect complement to Liverpool’s creative guile and this is just one of the reasons Roy Hodgson will not let him leave on the cheap.
It is clear that the player’s desire to leave will not obscure Liverpool’s valuation of such a key cog in their midfield wheel and unless the right sort of deal is put down for him, Hodgson will continue to dig his heels in and let him leave for nothing in two years’ time.
Whilst some may feel it would be best to grant the Argentine his wish as his eyes drift from Anfield to the San Siro, I for one beg to differ and his surprise appearance against Arsenal showed exactly why.
Mascherano repaid the faith of Hodgson and produced an excellent display in the centre of midfield, protecting his back four throughout. The authoritative manner in which he contained Arsenal’s threat was particularly prominent in the first-half as Arsene Wenger’s side dominated possession. He kept the ball well and producing some incisive passing that lead to his assist for David N’Gog’s goal to give Liverpool the lead.
And yet, if anyone described Mascherano’s performance against Arsenal, it would seem like another tedious account of a great display from one of the world’s best defensive midfielders – but it is the professionalism in which was conducted, in spite of his yearning to leave Anfield, that makes it all the more impressive.
It is refreshing in an age where player power often manifests itself, that a player like Mascherano can continue in the manner which helped endear him to the Anfield masses as opposed chucking his toys out the pram because his exit is not imminent and I believe the 26-year old would continue in the same vein should Hodgson select him.
Hodgson said: We want an offer that meets what we think is his value and Javier is perfectly happy with this – he doesn’t expect the club to just let him walk out of here.
The new manager has made no secret of wanting to keep one of his star men, who would not want to retain the services of a player that requires little motivation and always gives 100%. He knows that playing Mascherano vastly increases the chance of victory, not playing him would be cutting his nose off to spite his face.
One thing is for sure, Mascherano’s ruthless efficiency at the heart of Liverpool’s engine room is key to Hodgson’s vision for the club and until the time comes where Inter or Barcelona register a bid of around £25million-£30million, the kop will continue to sing his name to the tune of “Seven Nation Army” – they would sooner have him divorce his wife.