Liverpool are standing firm by their decision to retain the services of Javier Mascherano after they rejected a £16m bid from Barcelona this morning.
Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson has gone on record as stating that the wantaway defensive midfielder is aware he will not be leaving the club if an appropriate fee is not received – Liverpool are looking for a bid in the region of £20m.
Barcelona’s standout star and Mascherano’s close friend Lionel Messi has backed the move and Barcelona are looking to fund the move by sending Zlatan Ibrahimovich on loan to AC Milan in a deal that they want to push through this week.
Liverpool, however, will not be rushed into any deal for their tenacious midfielder and Barcelona will need to up their offer if they want to prise away an integral part of Liverpool’s push for the title.
Despite Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola recently saying he will not make any more signings before the start of the Primera Liga season, in which Barcelona are 4/5 shot to win the title, he is keen to fill the void left by Yaya Toure who moved to Manchester City this summer.
Liverpool are considering taking on former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb as part of the deal, although Hodgson is only prepared to do this if he fails to hold onto Dirk Kuyt who has been linked with a move to Inter Milan to be reunited with old boss Rafael Benitez.
However, a conversation between Hodgson and Inter boss Massimo Moratti earlier in the week suggests that Kuyt will be going nowhere; Hodgson is satisfied that the Milan club will not be making an approach for any of his players.
Liverpool will need to keep hold of their bigger squad names if they are to make an attack on the Premier League title. See the full Barclays Premier League betting market here.