Clever tactic from the Anfield manager
RAFA BENITEZ reckons Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano both have a debt of loyalty to stay at Liverpool.
The Anfield midfielders are being hotly pursued by Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Where Alonso kicks off the new season remains in doubt as Real are adamant they are still in the hunt, despite disagreeing with the Reds’ £35million price tag for the Spanish international.
Alonso, 27, is keen to go and Mascherano’s agent freely admits the Argy is flattered at being targeted by the Champions League winners.
But boss Benitez thinks the time has come for the pair to repay the faith he showed in them by signing them in the first place.
Mascherano, 25, was playing second fiddle to the mighty Hayden Mullins at West Ham when Rafa signed him in January 2007.
And Alonso was just a youngster with huge potential at Real Sociedad before his £10.5m move five years ago.
Benitez said: “We signed Xabi when no one knew him, then renewed his contract two years ago and it seemed he was happy.
“With Mascherano, you know the situation, so both players know they owe Liverpool a lot.
“They are players the fans like and they owe us, in terms of loyalty.
“We have to be very clear – we are preparing our squad for next season, not talking of selling players.” (The Sun)
Clever use of mind games to help keep his players in line. Hopefully both players will take this as a hint to keep their feet on the ground and rally around the club that employs them.
Rafa has made it clear he doesn’t intend on selling either player but that hasn’t stopped Barcelona and Real Madrid trying to force the issue and it will be interesting to see how both players representatives react to these quotes from the Liverpool boss.