Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano believes a good run in the Europa League can help Rafael Benitez’s troops on the domestic front.

The Reds face Unirea Urziceni in Bucharest on Thursday with a 1-0 lead from their first leg of their last-32 clash.

Benitez’s side have already been made favourites for the competition, having dropped out of the Champions League like their Romanian opponents, but Mascherano thinks a winning run in a cup competition can help their Premier League campaign.

„It is a really important game for us. We were talking about it for the last few days and it is really important we get through the last-32 stage,” said the Argentina captain. „We will try to do our best and get through to the last 16.

„We know when you have some good games for the players and the team it is always good to get confidence.

„We were seven games unbeaten before the Arsenal game when we were playing some good football.

Defensively Liverpool have tightened up in the last two months, with seven clean sheets in their last 11 games in all competitions.

That should ensure Unirea do not cause them too many problems in the Steaua Stadium on Thursday – where the match is being played as Unirea’s home ground does not meet UEFA standards.

Mascherano’s form has figured significantly in those clean sheets but the midfielder tried to downplay his role.

„I don’t talk too much about me. I am feeling very good now, in good form because maybe now I feel good in terms of fitness,” he added.

„That is good for me because my job is a physical job. I try to do my best always, sometimes I can and sometimes I cannot.”

Striker Fernando Torres and midfielder Yossi Benayoun are both in the squad having made their comebacks from five weeks out with knee and rib injuries in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester City.

The pair are likely to have a significant say in the last three months of Liverpool’s season and Mascherano has welcomed their return.

„It is good for the team to have important players and Yossi and Fernando are important for us,” he said. „We will need contributions from everyone between now and the end of the season so it is very good.”

Benitez is unlikely to start Torres, having played just 15 minutes at Eastlands, but the Liverpool boss said there was no risk in playing his striker if necessary.

„If he is here it is not a risk, so if he is here it means he can play,” said the Spaniard. „Yossi is a good player and although he is not fully fit he is in the squad and he can be available and we will decide tomorrow.”

Benitez was asked if losing to Unirea would be an embarrassment to him and the club but he insisted he had not contemplated a defeat.

„We have the belief and the confidence we will progress in the competition and although Urziceni are a good team we are a good team so we don’t think about defeat.

„We have to be confident we can score and that we can win the game,” he added. „A one-goal lead is always important. A clean sheet is crucial as you know that one goal is not too much but if you score then one goal is not enough for them.”

Red11Devil : „…Definite penalty that! Though of course, the ref was way out of position, the assistant ref asleep and Kalou overly theatrical as always. I suppose Mourinho’s good luck in the CL with foreign teams against English opposi…”   

Read the article on Team talk

Masch looking for lift from Euro run

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano believes a good run in the Europa League can help Rafael Benitez’s troops on the domestic front.

The Reds face Unirea Urziceni in Bucharest on Thursday with a 1-0 lead from their first leg of their last-32 clash.

Benitez’s side have already been made favourites for the competition, having dropped out of the Champions League like their Romanian opponents, but Mascherano thinks a winning run in a cup competition can help their Premier League campaign.

„It is a really important game for us. We were talking about it for the last few days and it is really important we get through the last-32 stage,” said the Argentina captain. „We will try to do our best and get through to the last 16.

„We know when you have some good games for the players and the team it is always good to get confidence.

„We were seven games unbeaten before the Arsenal game when we were playing some good football.

Defensively Liverpool have tightened up in the last two months, with seven clean sheets in their last 11 games in all competitions.

That should ensure Unirea do not cause them too many problems in the Steaua Stadium on Thursday – where the match is being played as Unirea’s home ground does not meet UEFA standards.

Mascherano’s form has figured significantly in those clean sheets but the midfielder tried to downplay his role.

„I don’t talk too much about me. I am feeling very good now, in good form because maybe now I feel good in terms of fitness,” he added.

„That is good for me because my job is a physical job. I try to do my best always, sometimes I can and sometimes I cannot.”

Striker Fernando Torres and midfielder Yossi Benayoun are both in the squad having made their comebacks from five weeks out with knee and rib injuries in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Manchester City.

The pair are likely to have a significant say in the last three months of Liverpool’s season and Mascherano has welcomed their return.

„It is good for the team to have important players and Yossi and Fernando are important for us,” he said. „We will need contributions from everyone between now and the end of the season so it is very good.”

Benitez is unlikely to start Torres, having played just 15 minutes at Eastlands, but the Liverpool boss said there was no risk in playing his striker if necessary.

„If he is here it is not a risk, so if he is here it means he can play,” said the Spaniard. „Yossi is a good player and although he is not fully fit he is in the squad and he can be available and we will decide tomorrow.”

Benitez was asked if losing to Unirea would be an embarrassment to him and the club but he insisted he had not contemplated a defeat.

„We have the belief and the confidence we will progress in the competition and although Urziceni are a good team we are a good team so we don’t think about defeat.

„We have to be confident we can score and that we can win the game,” he added. „A one-goal lead is always important. A clean sheet is crucial as you know that one goal is not too much but if you score then one goal is not enough for them.”

Red11Devil : „…Definite penalty that! Though of course, the ref was way out of position, the assistant ref asleep and Kalou overly theatrical as always. I suppose Mourinho’s good luck in the CL with foreign teams against English opposi…”   

Read the article on Team talk

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