Rafa upset at missing Masch
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has hit out at the latest batch of international friendlies.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 18/03/08 11:03am
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has hit out at the latest batch of international friendlies as this season approaches its climax.
Benitez has been left frustrated at the prospect of influential midfielder Javier Mascherano making a return trip to Africa ahead of the crucial Merseyside derby with Everton on 30th March.
Mascherano, who opened his Liverpool goalscoring account against Reading at the weekend, is set to fly to Cairo after the clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Grand Slam Sunday to represent Argentina in a friendly with Egypt the following Wednesday.
And Benitez has been angered by the news that he will lose £18million signing Mascherano as he prepares his squad for the crucial meeting with local and fourth place Premier League rivals Everton.
When asked about losing Mascherano, Benitez ironically told the Daily Express: "I'm really, really happy that Mascherano will go to Egypt to play a friendly.
"These are things that you can't understand. Rules are rules so the players must go.
"It's the same problem for all the top sides. Normally the best players are in the top sides and they are playing UEFA Champions League or playing for the title.
"We have spoken about this a hundred times before.
"You can't speak to the coach. You can say, 'be careful', but they are thinking about themselves.
"They need to check the players to see if they can manage with the team, so it will be very difficult.
"That, for me, is the reason that the squad is important, especially at this stage of the season. You need a good squad to use the players properly - sometimes you can and sometimes you can't."
United and Argentina striker Carlos Tevez will not be forced to make the trip to Egypt as he has been omitted from the international squad by coach Alfio Basile because he is suspended for the next World Cup qualifier against Ecuador in June.