Rafa keen to hold onto midfield duo

That was the message from Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez after the pair were linked with possible summer exits.

Both Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano have been in tremendous form all season and have contributed in no small part to Liverpool's decent campaign to date.

Alonso, 27, was strongly linked with a move to Italian side Juventus last summer but for whatever reason that move never materialised and he remained at Anfield, however there have been fresh reports in recent weeks that a move to Juve could be on the cards.

Mascherano, 24, has spent just over two years on Merseyside since his controversial move from West Ham back in 2007. The Argentine international recently admitted he didn't know whether or not he would still be a Liverpool player next season. Following Mascherano's somewhat shock revelation, Benitez has had this to say : "I talked to him and he is happy here. But you can't stop clubs talking with his agent because he is a good player ... There aren't too many holding midfielders of his calibre."

I am sure the large majority of Liverpool fans will delighted to hear both Alonso and Mascherano will be staying, for the foreseeable future at least. There is no doubt that with the pair playing in the side, Liverpool are a far stronger side then when they're not playing. Both players are still quite young and arguably only approaching the prime of their career's so I feel the longer Liverpool hold onto them, the better.

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