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Mascherano and Reina close to new Liverpool deals

Jose Reina and Javier Mascherano
Reina and Mascherano are key first-team regulars for Liverpool

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez says goalkeeper Jose Reina and midfielder Javier Mascherano are close to signing new contracts with the club.

"I think we will have news about Reina and Mascherano very soon and that will be very positive for the future," said Benitez of the Spaniard and Argentine.

"Everything is very close and there are no problems."

Reina, 27, has been at Liverpool since July 2005, while Mascherano, 25, joined the club in January 2007.

Reina, who arrived from Villarreal, has kept 12 clean sheets for Liverpool this season and Benitez insists the Spain international is now the best goalkeeper in the Premier League.

"He is the best in England, miles away from the others, and we are really pleased to keep him here for a long time," the Anfield boss said.

"I remember at the beginning people said 'for England, in the air, he is not the best'.

"But he is always organising the defenders and is more than a keeper. Sometimes the style of goalkeepers is for them to be really good in the six-yard box, Pepe is really good in the 18-yard box."

His armband proved he was a red

Benitez highlighted Reina's brilliant stoppage-time save from Christopher Samba's goalbound header in their 2-1 victory over Blackburn as evidence of his class.

"When you talk about a goalkeeper in a top side he normally doesn't have much to do," he added.

"To be involved in this game, especially at the end, and that save shows the level of the player."

Mascherano, who signed from West Ham, was linked with a move to Barcelona last summer but Benitez is convinced Argentina's captain is keen to stay on Merseyside.

"I was talking with him and his agent the other day and it is true Javier is happier," Benitez said.

"The conversations were very positive. When you talk with Javier he is very settled and happy. Everyone knew about some clubs being interested in him but talking with us he was fine."

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see also
Mascherano signs Liverpool deal
29 Feb 08 |  Liverpool

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