Javier Mascherano v Xabi Alonso: who would Liverpool miss more?

Ollie Irish

4th, August 2009


Worst-case scenario: Liverpool lose both Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano this summer.
Best-case scenario: Alonso and Maschy stay, obviously.
But, Liverpool fans, if you could lose just one of the pair (and I know that it’s more likely to be Alonso), who would you let go? Let’s look at the evidence:
Mascherano, 25, is a world-class defensive midfielder who protects the back four and the midfielders around him. In that respect, he’s absolutely pivotal. His football intelligence is immense and although he’s renowned for his destructuve abilities, he can play a bit too: his passing range is limited but he rarely wastes a ball and his shooting, while not powerful, is pretty accurate for a DM.
Alonso, 27, is more like a quarterback than the Argentine. His range of passing is superb, his vision greater than Mascherano’s. Xabi can breach defences with pin-point accuracy, whereas Maschy is more inclined to keep things as simple as possible (at Rafa’s request, no doubt). On the downside, Xabi is very slow. He gets away with it because he’s surrounded by more dynamic players who will run all day (Gerrard, Kuyt etc.). In that respect, you could call him a modern-day version of Jan Molby, albeit without the spare tyre.
Which of the two would Liverpool miss more? It’s a very tough call. They’d miss them both a hell of a lot, but I’m inclined to side with Mascherano, who is younger than Xabi and whose discipline really makes it easy for his team-mates to express themselves. Xabi is more likable, no doubt, but likability doesn’t win you trophies.
What’s your call?

Posted in Liverpool

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  1. MCB LFC says:

    Have to agree. Actually the thought of losing Masch is pretty scary. But even a world class midfielder like Aquilani won’t make a seamless transition into the side. We’ll miss either one but Xabi has his off days more than Masch, so have to say he can go first.

  2. MCB LFC says:

    Have to agree. Actually the thought of losing Masch is pretty scary. But even a world class midfielder like Aquilani won’t make a seamless transition into the side. We’ll miss either one but Xabi has his off days more than Masch, so have to say he can go first.

  3. Joe says:

    It’s indeed a tough one, but I’m inclined to agree, simply because Gerrard probably functions better in a 442 (which, if ‘pool get no replacement, would seem the likely option) with a real water carrier than, as you aptly put it, a quarterback.

  4. Kipp says:

    Xabi, out of pure unfettered bias

  5. Ollie says:

    Kipp, you surprise me.

  6. Timothy says:

    Yes I agree with you.
    There have to be some reason why Rafa can let go on Alonso for £30 mill. but to get Mascherano, other clubs had to come out with more than £50 mill. according to Rafa in a press conference earlier this summer.
    One thing I disagree with you though, is that Mascherano’s shooting/finishing is decent for a DM. To say it like this, I would love Mascherano to learn from another DM, Daniele De Rossi on that part of his game. There are not excactly few times I have seen Masche blow chances by putting the ball far over the goal.
    Nevertheless, he (Mascherano) is the best DM in the world, while Alonso probably is the best “Quarterback”-type in the world. Both are world class players and would be hard to replace, very hard to replace actually.

  7. anteater says:

    While I don’t want to underestimate Mascherano’s value to the team, I would like to think that a player like him is easier to replace than Alonso. There are a few purely destructive midfielders out there, but how many are there with Alonso’s passing ability? Hardly any. Alonso also “earned” us six red cards for the opponent last season while Masch would rather walk himself. In an ideal world none of them would want to leave a big club like Liverpool anyway, but apparently both would like to move on to clubs where they think that the grass is greener. Considering this, I would rather have less gifted but more committed players in our line-up instead of those two, while it is more understandable that Alonso thinks of leaving, given what he had to endure this time last year. Mascherano want’s to leave too? He should remember where his career was going before Benítez came in for him. This clearly is a sign of the cuttent state of our beautiful game. It’s mostly about egos and greed. Some people will fall flat on their faces rather sooner than later.

  8. Fan says:

    Alonso, no question, he directs the play and he was missed more then Torres and Gerrard last season and point dropped prove this.
    Masc is only required for about 8 games per season, he is a limited player in what he offers when we play the bottom 2/3 of the PL. He cant pass and for a defensive specialist he was caught out last year in the CL again C when it mattered. He could elarn from watching Ronnie Whelan tapes to see how to dictate play from deep, but this is what Alonso does. A good CB like Aggar could do teh Mach job.

  9. Ollie says:

    From what I’ve seen, Mascherano can pass very well indeed.

  10. Kevin says:

    Obviously both players are valued members of the team, either absense and we have a weaker team.
    But for me, Alonso is the biggest loss of all. We didn’t play the same with him in the team last year, and his natural ability on the ball helped us out of a hole on more than one occasion.
    Mascherano is Alonso’s shield, that’s why he’s so good. The compliment each other perfectly.
    I want to keep both.

  11. asd says:

    Xabi by a country mile

  12. Isaiah Mwebwa says:

    We would cry to keep both players for sure,but if one has to go,then Masc would.After all,for him other than his counterpart,it is for greener pastures.Infact in addition to his special abilities Alonso remains more disciplined than masc.
    He was first disturbed by Banitez the previous season when Banitez wanted to sell him infavour of Gareth Barry.It surely meant alot for him but still gave in everything of him for the club.
    He is a world Class passer,divides the opponets,scores,takes good free kicks just next to Gerald in LFC,he is cool,mature,energetic,felt iin his absence and loved.
    He is not leaving for money,he wants to go where the manager values and appreciates him,he clearly knows that the manager only wants to keep him this time just because there is no alternative in the name of Gareth barry.
    It woulb be sad if we lost him.

  13. Billy says:

    I would say the Masch going would be the bigger blow. To win games, first you must not lose games. His energy and determination to protect the back 4 is second to none, this cannot change.

  14. Miguel - NYC says:

    Mascherano all the way (i hope barca gets him).
    Xabi Alonso will be hit by the hard reality that he will have to run double in Madrid to do half of what he did in Lpool (Neither Gago or Lass Diarra do half the work Masche does)…and that means he’ll get burned out really quick.
    BTW, the best “quaterback” like football player in the world is Xavi from Barca.

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