Belfast Telegraph

Masch dash may not be imminent

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson insists he does not want Javier Mascherano to leave the club and that new signing Christian Poulsen has not been brought in as a replacement for the Argentinian.

Poulsen was presented to the media on Friday after signing a three-year contract following his £4.5million move from Juventus. The arrival of the Danish defensive midfielder was thought likely to prompt the departure of Mascherano - who has been linked with a reunion with former Reds boss Rafael Benitez at Inter Milan - but Hodgson said that was not the case.

"I don't want to let Javier Mascherano go. At the moment Javier has shown no signs of going," he said.

"I work with him whenever I can. He came back fairly late from the World Cup and has been away on international duty but I suppose I've had seven or eight training sessions with him now.

"We talk about football and he has made no indication [about wanting a move] since our very early meeting when he made it clear where, if possible, he would prefer to leave.

"Since then he has been getting on with his work, training properly, and as far as I am concerned he is a Liverpool player and will be until the day someone signs him - and that day does not seem to be imminent."

Hodgson said the Argentina captain was in contention for Sunday's Barclays Premier League opener at home to Arsenal and could well start, considering Poulsen only arrived yesterday.

The 62-year-old said the Denmark international would play an important part this season but stressed he did not want it to be at the expense of Mascherano.

"It is not a question of Christian replacing Javier, I believe Javier is going to play for us," added Hodgson.

"We didn't take Christian to replace anyone, we took him in because we wanted to improve the size and quality of our squad. I am happy to have both players; we are going to have a lot of games to play this year, hopefully, and we are going to need a lot of players."


From Belfast Telegraph