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Mascherano confident Liverpool are ready for title push

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Oct 2008


Javier Mascherano believes Liverpool have never been better equipped to challenge for honours during his time at Anfield.

The Argentina midfielder, 24, has established himself as a key man under Rafael Benitez since arriving from West Ham in February 2006.

In that time, Liverpool may have reached a Champions League final but have never mounted a convincing challenge for a first Premier League title since 1990.

But Benitez added Robbie Keane and Albert Riera to his attacking options this summer and the Reds have started the campaign with an unbeaten run in the league.

Mascherano feels Benitez has never had better players at his disposal but Liverpool must maintain the standards they have set in the opening weeks of the season.

He said: “I think we are stronger than last season and we have more options than last season.

“We have some players that can play in every position so the manager can decide to move people and it won't change the team.

“That's good for us, the team and the manager and we know that you won't definitely be in the 11 starters so everyone is working really hard for their place.

“Looking at the statistics we are much better than last season but it's too early to start talking about these things now.

“I think we can keep the level and improve throughout the season. We say it all the time, but we will try to fight for every title.

“We know it's too early to start to talk about this, but in our heads we will try to do it.

“If we want to fight in all the competitions we need to stay at the level we're at. We can't think about the last game, we need to look forward because we'll have a lot of difficult games and only then can we fight for all the titles.”

While Benitez rarely lavishes praise on individuals, he believes that Mascherano plays a vital role in taking care of Steven Gerrard's dirty work.

And despite just one goal in 55 appearances, Benitez is not concerned about a lack of goal-threat from his holding midfielder.

Benitez said: “It doesn't really need to change. As long as we are winning and playing well it doesn't matter who scores and it's just important that we're creating chances and scoring goals.

“We know that Javier is a midfielder that can give other midfielders freedom and maybe he gives Gerrard freedom and he can get into the box more frequently.

“But we also have (Xabi) Alonso, Lucas (Leiva) and (Damien) Plessis and they're all playing well.”

Mascherano has also revealed that his friend Carlos Tevez winning the Champions League has made him want to do the same.

The fellow countrymen were team-mates at West Ham as well as their national side and Mascherano has been given a shot in the arm by Tevez's achievements.

He added: “I spoke to him and he was really happy. It was good for him and I think he deserved it. Obviously now I want to win like he's done.”

“I have a good relationship with him. He plays for Manchester United and I'm happy that things are going well for him. When we play against them I want to beat him but he's my friend and I'm very happy for him.”


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