Mascherano – The real player of the year

News inbound from the Official Liverpool FC website is that our home-grown talent Steven Gerrard is our 2007 Player of the Year, and however much in past years he has deserved the crown, this year it is questionable.

Lets start off where the year began last January. Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez hit the Premier League scene earlier in the year before, and even though Tevez fit into the team straight away, Mascherano found it hard to make it off the bench. Most likley an error on The Hammers part, who featured him in only 7 games, because as soon as he pulled on his first Red shirt shortly after the transfer window, he has been integral to our success.

Age 22 at the time of joining us, he had already featured in the Argentinan national team, and was part of the Under-23’s side which reached and won the South America pre-Olympico tournament. To date he has 35 caps for the national side, and 2 goals. He also featured in the Copa America last summer, taking the team to the final in that, but lost out to the better team on the day, Brazil.

Back to his Liverpool career anyway. Despite competition for the spot from the likes of Xabi Alonso and Momo Sissoko, he has managed to make himself a firm favourite already. For me, his first spectacular performance was in last seasons Champions League semi-final tie with Chelsea. He came up against the likes of Mikel, Lampard and Didier Drogba on their home turf, and didnt stop all night. He always keeps his opponents quiet, and if they break free, his is hounding them until they sacrifice the ball for a breather.

From August when the new season kicked off, he has made 17 appearences for us so far this season, and while on occasion he has fallen short of Rafa’s team selections, he has never dipped in form after a few missed matches, and has always turned out on the day and given excellent performances, which only seem to be getting better. Unfortunatley for Monster Masch, he is yet to bag his first competitive goal for Liverpool, but this is overlooked by the contribution he makes all over the rest of the pitch, and has stopped plenty of opposition threats hitting the back of our net.

Its also inspirational how Javier has become a firm favourite in such a short space of time, those 10 letters gracing the back of many a supporters shirt in Anfield on a matchday. Why has this happened? Well its a very simple answer. He shows his dedication to the team where we all want it to count. On the pitch. He’s not afraid to let people know what he thinks (while keeping it on the pitch), not surprising since he dosent seem to be afraid of anything. There’s countless times that he hasn’t hesitated to commit himself to chasing down a ball, and jump into what seems an impossible interception or tackle. And when a decision dosen’t go his way? He gets his head down and gets posession back.

Throughout his time with us he has not received bad press, and has publicly devoted himself to Liverpool on many occasions, saying “I feel like this is my home” in a short interview published yesterday. He said ‘œIt is a really difficult situation because I have been talking a lot about how I want to stay here but, now, it doesn’t depend on me,” shortly followed by “I have gone from being at West Ham, where it wasn’t good for me, to Liverpool, where I am really happy.”

He has also said previously that he dosen’t want to play for any other team, and if he was forced to leave us, he wouldn’t consider moving to another English club. Despite this though rumours are circulating that Manchester City are trying to swoop for “The Monster”, alongside bids from Barcelona. And his departure would leave us with one less bragging right… because we’d be one player short of the best midfield in the world.

If Carrick is worth £18m. Mascherano is Priceless.

‘Kid Viravax’