Masch won't be rushed back

Benitez unlikely to use Argentine against Liege

Mascherano: On his way back from China

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Rafa Benitez has admitted that Javier Mascherano is unlikely to face Standard Liege on Wednesday.

Liverpool must beat the Belgian champions at Anfield after being held to a goalless draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League.

Mascherano has been away on Olympic duty and over the weekend he led Argentina to Gold as they defeated Nigeria 1-0 in the final.

The midfielder was due to leave China after the match with Nigeria but Benitez does not think there will be time for him to prepare for Wednesday's clash.

The Reds boss said: "Javier will be back with us soon. But I do not think he will be in contention to play in Europe.

"He has spent too much time travelling and playing, that makes it difficult to be at your best.

"The same thing applied to Ryan Babel. He returned from China last week after Holland were knocked out, but I only really considered him as a substitute at the weekend."

Babel came on for the final 25 minutes of the 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough and will be available to start the game against Liege.