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By ESPN Staff

Hammers misfit Mascherano relishes Anfield challenge

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano insists there are no hard feelings with former club West Ham and hopes to be at new coach Rafael Benitez's disposal as soon as possible.

The former Corinthians player told Argentinian newspaper Clarin that he is still mystified by his lack of first-team opportunities at Upton Park, under both Alan Pardew and Alan Curbishley.

'I had no arguments with anybody, no disputes. I don't know what had happened or what things I did wrong there,' said the 22-year-old.

'I have no rancour. Fans and people in general treated me very well. It is obvious that I was not a player for that club.

'West Ham can live without me and I can live without West Ham.'

Mascherano is awaiting clearance from the Premier League before he can turn out for the Reds, despite FIFA having already granted dispensation for the Argentina international permission to make the move even though he has already played for two clubs since July 1 last year.

And Mascherano admitted he is desperate to put an end to the affair and get back to doing what he loves most - playing football.

'I wish to repay Liverpool's efforts to sign me on the field,' he said.

'I want to gain the respect of the Liverpool players in training and win a place in the team on merit.

'Now, a new door is open and, as always, I will get my head down and fight for a place in the team. If I don't play, I am not happy.'

The 22-year-old also insisted his time with the Hammers had not dimmed his view of English football.

He said: 'I wanted to prove to myself that I can play here in England.'

'I've not been a on the pitch enough yet to know if I can. Now, there is a chance to play in a top team and fight for a place in the team with great players like Steven Gerrard or Xabi Alonso.

'It's a fanstatic challenge.'