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By ESPN Staff
Feb 4, 2008

Mascherano expects Liverpool deal to be done

Javier Mascherano expects his permanent transfer to Liverpool to be completed this week.

The Argentina midfielder is registered as a Reds player on a long-term loan from owners MSI, so the deal did not need to be completed before the transfer deadline last Thursday.

However, the 23-year-old, who claims his relationship with the Anfield fans has been a major factor in his decision to stay on Merseyside, hopes the £18.6million transfer to go through shortly.

'It's not finished yet but I am hoping to stay here,' he told the Liverpool website.

'I have a lot of confidence that after the next week I will be able to say `everything is right and I am staying here in Liverpool'.

'We now need to wait. We are very close but we need to talk again. I think everything will be okay. I've waited a long time, so I can wait one week more.

'The fans like me and I love the fans. They are great and that's the reason I want to stay here.'

Liverpool are believed to have verbally agreed a four-year contract with Mascherano, with the fee being paid to the player's owners in instalments.

Mascherano played his 26th game for the club in Saturday's 3-0 win over Sunderland, and said: 'When it was 0-0 at half-time there were no harsh words like the boss delivered last week when we were playing Havant.

'We knew we would have chances in the second half, so we weren't feeling so bad at half-time. We knew we could do something to win the game. It was just important we kept calm.

'At half-time we were told to keep going and work hard. We weren't playing really well, but it wasn't so bad either. We had to keep working together.

'The difference was that we scored early in the second half and you could see that gave us a lot of confidence. Once you've scored, you become calmer.'

Mascherano admits he and his team-mates owed that second-half performance to the fans following five league games without a win.

He also believes it will have a big impact on the squad's state of mind going into next Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

'We owed the fans a result. We've played badly recently but now we can have confidence again. We can go into the international break happy and then we have a big game against Chelsea.

'It's a difficult place to go, so the win over Sunderland was important because it means we can go to London with a lot of confidence. We can play with confidence again.

'We are close to fourth spot again - just one point behind. But now we have to keep this level.'