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Barcelona signing Mascherano: I never went AWOL at Liverpool

Barcelona signing Javier Mascherano denies going AWOL at Liverpool for their defeat at Manchester City. The Argentina midfielder, who left Liverpool for Barcelona in a £22million switch on Friday, claims he remained 100 per cent professional but Kop boss Roy Hodgson had branded him "selfish" when he withdrew from Monday's clash with Manchester City in a bid to force through the transfer.

But Mascherano, 26, told the People: "I showed at Liverpool that I am always 100 per cent professional and nobody can doubt that.

"Against Manchester City I was not right to play. I spoke with the coach and he understood my position. It was better for the team.

"I have never had any problems with the new coach - I accepted his orders and Roy Hodgson would confirm it.

"My team-mates knew it was my decision and did not say anything about it to me."

He added: "Liverpool will always be in my heart, but my time there has finished and now it is time for a new challenge.

"I have not left Liverpool to join Barcelona for money, just for sporting reasons. The Barca project is very exciting. They have been interested in me in the past and this second opportunity to join them was impossible to reject.

"I will for ever be grateful to Liverpool for what they did for me, but I have done all I can for them on the pitch in return.

"The fans were always brilliant with me and now I must wait to see if they view my exit negatively. That is football."

 Need your Liverpool news fix? Click here for all Reds news and transfer rumours.

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