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SPORTS
24 Aug 2010
ROY HODGSON LEAVES OUT UNSETTLED JAVIER MASCHERANO

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson said transfer speculation surrounding Javier Mascherano led to his omission from the team beaten by Manchester City.

The 26-year-old was not in the Reds squad as they lost 3-0 and Hodgson said he might not pick the midfielder until the transfer window ends on 31 August.

Hodgson told BBC Sport: "His head is being turned by Barcelona, who are making overtures to him.

"But until an offer matches our valuation he will stay with us."

He said the sticking-point with Barcelona was that the amount offered was "way, way below" Liverpool's reported £25m valuation of Mascherano.

Hodgson continued: "The player still remains unhappy. He is not interested in the justice of the fee, he just wants to move.

"It makes it uncomfortable for us. It's something to be resolved but certainly Javier was not in the right frame of mind so it was better to play with Lucas and Steven Gerrard, who certainly were committed to the cause."

Before the defeat at Eastlands, Hodgson said he hoped matters would be resolved before the end of the transfer window so he could pick the Argentine again.

Some reports circulating on Monday evening suggested the Catalan giants were offering only £12m for a player who cost Liverpool £18m three and a half seasons ago.

Hodgson has been consistent in conceding Liverpool would let Mascherano leave provided they received the right offer, honouring an agreement the player struck 12 months ago when Barcelona first expressed their interest.

Turning his attention to purchasing new players, Hodgson added: "I think we could augment our squad if we wanted to but the big thing is to make sure we find the right player.

"I don't want to be acting through panic, I want to make sure the player we sign is the right one."

Dutch club PSV Eindhoven have revealed Liverpool have already been in touch over the possibility of signing their striker Ola Toivonen.

Although it was a miserable night for Hodgson's side, Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour was treated to a comfortable victory on his first visit to watch his team at Eastlands.

"He was very happy because it was the first time he saw City beat Liverpool - I think it was a good night," said City manager Roberto Mancini.

"I hope he can come every week but I don't think it is possible."

Gareth Barry opened the scoring for City before Carlos Tevez netted twice, with Mancini keen to play down the expectations surrounding his side following the victory.

"I thought we played well," stated the Italian. "We need time to gel and improve because we were missing four or five important players.

"But the team played with a good mentality. If they play with a good mentality I think we can beat every team.

"We beat a strong team like Liverpool, who can fight for the title. This win helped us believe in ourselves and this is important."

City's latest acquisition, James Milner, set up the first goal but denied he was nervous before making his debut.

"Luckily I was selected," he said. "It's always tough against Liverpool but we got three goals and a clean sheet.

"The club is moving forward, they've signed a lot of great players. There is great competition, which is healthy for any team so hopefully we can build on this."


source:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

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