Saturday, November 28, 2009

Masch completely backs Rafa

Javier Mascherano has claimed it would be madness for Liverpool to part company with Rafa Benitez.

The Reds lock horns with Everton in the biggest Merseyside derby for years today looking to resurrect their season after their exit from the Champions League.

Mascherano has been linked to a New Year move to long-time admirers Barcelona – but he insists the players and fans are right behind Benitez in his hour of need.

Mascherano said: “You can’t talk about changing the manager, that would be crazy. The fans are right behind Rafa Benitez – and I know the players definitely are.

“We know you can’t just take recent results into account. Liverpool have improved a lot over the last five years – and that is all down to Rafa. Remember, the club didn’t qualify for the Champions League every year before he came to the club.

“The fact that people think it is normal for us to be in the Champions League and challenging for trophies is down to one man – the manager.

“There is a big disappointment that we suffered in Europe, but now we must start winning games in the league.

“Rafa signed a new contract only a few months ago. I think the players, the fans, the owners all believe in him.”

Mascherano says it is crucial that Liverpool produce the form that will enable them to claim a place in the top four once again. The Argentina captain insists he still hasn’t given up on the title – but knows that a victory at Goodison is vital.

Mascherano said: “It is still not impossible to win the league, but our first job is to get back into the top four and qualify for the Champions League. When you see Chelsea winning all the time you have to accept that getting to the top will be very difficult for us, but our first job is to start winning games regularly and see what the future brings.

“It sounds stupid to talk about winning the League, but if Chelsea start to lose some games then maybe we will be given a chance to get back into it. At the moment, though, the aim must be the top four and it is down to the players to show we are the right players for Liverpool.”

He added: “Liverpool expect to win every game because we are a top club. We cannot think of going to Everton to just draw. That would not be a good result for us in our position.

“We have to go there and win. We can’t think about injuries or off-the-field distractions.

“We want to win for the fans and for Rafa Benitez. We know how special it is to beat Everton.”

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