Liverpool supporters were left with mixed emotions yesterday after Roy Hodgson confirmed that Argentina captain Javier Mascherano has asked to leave the club, whilst also all but guaranteeing that Fernando Torres will be plying his trade at Anfield next season.
In a highly anticipated press conference, in which new signings Milan Jovanovic, Joe Cole and Danny Wilson were unveiled, Hodgson said, "He (Mascherano) wants to leave the club. He's made that perfectly clear. I think he wanted to leave a year ago and he wants to leave now. But he's contracted to Liverpool Football Club, so whether he leaves or not is our decision."
This just confirmed the worst kept secret during this summer's transfer season. Mascherano had made it clear that he has no interest in continuing at Liverpool next season by refusing to reply to Hodgson's phone calls. Roy may not have expected a reply, however it was very unprofessional of Mascherano to be so petulant by not responding.
Moreover, so many rumours have been circulated by his agent that it seemed almost inevitable that he would leave the club this summer. However, if Mascherano doesn't want to stay at the club then he should be sold as soon as possible, and for as much money as possible.
Yes, we will certainly miss his tenacity in the midfield battle, however Mascherano has shown himself to be quite simply a mercenary who has displayed a stunning lack of loyalty to the club that effectively saved his career from ruin.
Mascherano was rotting on the West Ham bench, however Liverpool decided to invest a large sum of money in him, £18.6 million after a a loan spell, to bring him to Anfield and a crucial place in Liverpool's first team.
The club have made him the player he is today, and yet he's jumped ship after only one admittedly dreadful season. This just reveals an unacceptable attitude, and Liverpool will be glad to see the back of him.
If we can get anything over £20 million, which is quite likely with Rafa Benitez desperate to sign him for Inter, then it would be a brilliant move for both Liverpool and for Mascherano, and would allow Hodgson more funds to invest in building up the squad.
Moreover, Liverpool have a ready-made replacement in the form of Lucas, who improved significantly last season and should be able to perform well in a holding midfield role.
In much more positive news, Hodgson put an end to month's of speculation regarding the future of Fernando Torres by confirming that Torres will be staying, and that the Spaniard cannot wait for the start of the season.
Hodgson stated, "He (Torres) is looking forward to coming back here on Monday. He is enjoying a holiday...but he has told us he is looking forward to Monday, looking forward to getting back to work and looking forward to playing for Liverpool next season. That's what I know and I suggest all other reports are erroneous."
Whilst a few supporters may have wanted to see Torres leave, in order to raise a massive sum of money for Hodgson to spend this summer, the vast majority of fans will be delighted that he is almost certainly staying at the club for at least another season.
Torres may be injury prone, however he is still one of the best, if not the best striker in the world when fully fit and firing. Also, the prospect of the Spanish striker combining with Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole in a terrific trio is mouth-watering for any fan, and leaves Liverpool with an attack similar to Barcelona's, according to Dutch winger Arjen Robben.
Whilst the loss of Javier Mascherano is not great news for the club, we cannot afford to keep players who are not 100% committed to the cause. Torres' future seems to be on Merseyside, meaning that we will have the services of the best striker in the world for years to come. That can only be good news.