Feb. 11, 2010 - 05461541 date 10 02 2010 Copyright imago BPI Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal catches The Shoulder of Javier Mascherano of Liverpool with His Boat PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN men Football England Premier League 2009 London Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal premiumd Football.

Rarely will I feel we should sympathise with Liverpool supporters. Their sense of entitlement reaches levels beyond even ours.

We often feel that we are worthy of the Premiership title just for being so close, there or thereabouts, for a period of several seasons. Liverpool fans, however, believe they deserve a Premiership title and remain the number one club in the land despite only actually being close to winning the main domestic trophy once in nearly two decades. Even then they weren’t that close. They think their previous success and history somehow warrants their current claims. Yes, Liverpool are a big football club with a large following and a notable history. Rightly being called big, large and notable is very different to being the biggest, the greatest and the best. Many Liverpool fans often fail to make the distinction.

Still, in this particular instance there is room for sympathy. Javier Mascherano. If Yaya Toure, also a defensive midfielder, is worth £25 million, any football fan will know that Javier Mascherano is not worth less. If Lassana Diarra costs £22 million, Javier Mascherano should surely cost £30 million.

Only Barcelona made an incredulous offer, if reports are to be believed, of £12 million to Liverpool to acquire the diminutive Argentinians services. The reason they believe they have a chance with such a low offer is because Javier Mascherano has, effectively, gone on strike. Roy Hodgson confirmed after the Manchester City versus Liverpool match that Mascherano’s ”head was not in the right state of mind” for the fixture. In manager code that means he didn’t want to play. Why should we sympathise with one of our rivals you might ask. You might imagine them losing one of their better players will only favour our chances. But there is more to it than that.

Barcelona act as if they can do what they want, when they want, how they want. Only thanks to the persuasive powers of Arsene Wenger did we manage to keep hold of Cesc Fabregas and even then most Arsenal fans recognised the agreement for him to stay as merely a postponement. We all know that Fabregas will go eventually. It’s a transfer deferred, nothing else. Yet here Barcelona are, doing it all again. Lionel Messi is speaking about how wonderfully his Argentinian team mate will fit into the Barcelona side. Victor Valdes is saying that Mascherano would be welcome at the Camp Nou. Just who exactly do Barcelona think they are? Rarely will I say this, but I am with Liverpool on this one. Liverpool might not be the biggest or the best in the world, but neither are we, and it is about time Barcelona realised that neither are they.

We managed to keep the bully at bay for another year at least. I hope, but I am not convinced, that Liverpool can do the same. If Liverpool want to sell Mascherano or he wants to leave, fair enough, but it should be done on the selling clubs terms, not the ones Barcelona create. This Mascherano case is eerily similar to the Fabregas one. Arsenal fans should support the Kop.

PS. It turns out that Squillaci refused to play for Sevilla in order to force through a move to us. What a horrible football world it is.

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