Liverpool’s transfer conundrum
With the news that Xabi Alonso has handed in a transfer request in order to set in stone his move to Real Madrid Liverpool fans are in despair. For 5 years the Basque midfielder effortlessly pinged the ball around the Anfield pitch; whether it be 5 yards or 50 yards its precision was guaranteed. Alonso was the type of player that won fans across the divide for his style of play – his creative genius on the field often left opposition players and supporters in awe as he could pick out an intricate pass that left defenders baffled.
However with Javier Mascherano also linked with a move away the inevitable question arises: who would be most missed? The prevailing opinion sides itself with Alonso; Liverpool would miss his intelligence, passing ability and creative mind. All very true. But this author wants to challenge this view and suggest that, even though to lose Alonso would be a huge blow, the departure of Mascherano would be even more hurtful to a Liverpool side intent on winning their first League title since 1990.
When you speak to some Liverpool fans there is almost a Florentino Pérez view amongst them. Not in that Liverpool should spend £80m on a great Portuguese winger who enjoys the occasional moan but that they overlook the importance of Mascherano’s role much in the same way Makélélé was neglected. To quote the Madrileño businessman:
“We will not miss Makélélé. His technique is average, he lacks the speed and skill to take the ball past opponents, and ninety percent of his distribution either goes backwards or sideways. He wasn’t a header of the ball and he rarely passed the ball more than three metres.”
Sound almost like you could be talking about the little Argentine. Mascherano does that role that no one is happy to watch but everyone only realizes its importance once it’s gone. Sitting in front of the back-four he has the presence of a Rottweiler; tackling, snapping and chasing after anything that dares venture in Liverpool’s half. He allows the likes of Gerrard and Torres a free role as they know that, should they lose possession, it is more than likely the former River Plate youth will recover it a few minutes later.
It leaves us with a difficult question; style and creativity or physique and combative? If Liverpool are serious about winning the league and one of these players must go then £30m (rumored to be the fee) for Alonso should be their option. Mascherano might not score from his own half but god help anyone who dares come into his zone, as Maradona himself stated: the Argentinean national team consists of Mascherano and 10 others. A las pruebas me remito.