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By ESPN Staff

Benitez upbeat about Mascherano future

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has held "positive talks'' with Javier Mascherano about the midfielder's future at the club.

Mascherano was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona this summer but Benitez insists the player is happy and negotiations are under way about extending his current deal, which runs for another two years.

"We were talking with him and his agent a month ago about our idea and his idea,'' Benitez told the club's official website. "He's doing really well and has come back to his best. We were really pleased to talk to him to make progress.

"We have plenty of time but we are happy with him and he is happier now, too. He has two more years on his contract; we were talking before and we will sit down sooner rather than later and talk about the future. The last conversations that we had were very positive.''

Benitez is also hoping to tie up a new contract for goalkeeper Pepe Reina over the coming months.

"We are very happy with him,'' Benitez said. "He has been improving every single year and he will improve more because goalkeepers have more time in their career. He's always positive and he's one of the best in the training sessions because his attitude is always good.

"It depends on the agent and what the player wants but Pepe is very happy here in Liverpool so I don't see a big problem. The team-mates love him because he's a very good example.''

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