Benitez - Masch fully focused

Reds boss says Barcelona target is staying

Mascherano: Fully focused

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Rafa Benitez says Javier Mascherano is now fully focused on Liverpool after being wanted by Barcelona this summer.

Mascherano had been linked with a move to the Spanish giants during the transfer window after reportedly growing tired of life in England.

However, with Xabi Alonso finalising his move to Real Madrid, Benitez says the Argentine terrier has now purged all thoughts in his mind of leaving Anfield.

Benitez believes Mascherano, who has impressed in training over the past 10 days, has accepted his long-term future is at Liverpool.

Staying

"Javier knows he is staying," said Benitez. "He has accepted his future is here and that he is going to be a key player for us once more.

"Mascherano is now fully focused on us and what we might achieve together this season, I can guarantee that 100 per cent.

"We've spoken about his situation before and we spoke again. Before, it was difficult and he could see Xabi Alonso was on his way.

"There has been a significant improvement in his game over the past 10 days. He has been a lot more focused, and we are seeing the real Mascherano again."