Mascherano happy playing alongside Liverpool pal Xabi

Javier Mascherano hopes to maintain his midfield partnership with Xabi Alonso for Liverpool tonight against West Ham.

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"Xabi played really well against Bolton and I enjoyed playing with him," Mascherano told liverpoolfc.tv. "It was not a surprise that he played well though because he is such a good player - he is one of the best midfielders in the world.

"He was not in the team but he kept on working hard in training and even though he is a Champions League winner he still played for the reserves last week and when his chance came against Bolton he played very well.

"Xabi is a very good passer of the ball and he is also a very intelligent player. It was good to play with him but it is also good to play with Lucas or Gerrard.

"We have some very good players in midfield and that is good for the team because we all have to try our hardest to try to keep our place."

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