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Barcelona target Mascherano: I'm staying at Liverpool for Benitez

Javier Mascherano says he's committed to Liverpool - and manager Rafa Benitez. Mascherano said: "Barcelona contacted my agents regarding a possible move.

"But I have always been a professional and have never left a club high and dry, and I was not going to do that this time with Liverpool.

"I will always value the fact Benitez took a chance on me when neither Carlos Tevez nor I were being given chances at West Ham.

"Benitez is someone who is very serious and clear. He spoke with me and told me I was a key player, and that I could not abandon the club just for financial reasons."

Mascherano, who played in Argentina's 3-2 win in Russia in midweek, admits his head was turned by Barca's advances.

But he added: "When Xabi Alonso left for Real Madrid I knew that me also leaving was impossible, but I had already made a commitment with Rafa to stay 100 per cent with the project.

"Last year we were so close to being champions and we'll be back in the title fight again."

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