Rafa rejects Masch speculation

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has dismissed speculation linking midfielder Javier Mascherano with a move away from Anfield.

The Agentine international has been the subject of reports suggesting he could be set for a big move to Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona this summer, and recent quotes from the man himself didn’t rule out the possibility of an exit.

But Benitez confirmed that Mascherano is definitely not up for sale and that he is happy at the club.

“I didn’t know about his comments so I talked to him about them and he was clear that he is happy here,” Benitez said. “You can’t stop clubs talking with his agent because he is a good player, and there aren’t too many holding midfielders of his calibre.

“When you have four or five top clubs asking about you, you don’t want to say no because you know in football that everything can change. So from a player’s point of view, and especially from the agent’s, they try to keep the doors open for everyone.

“But does he want to leave? I don’t think so. He knows the best option for him at this moment is this club. In three years’ time you never know, but now he knows this is the best option.”

Benitez also rubbished reports that Xabi Alonso will be tempted by a move back to Spain this summer, too. He continued, “We want to keep all our key players here, so it is the same story with Xabi.”