Mascherano backs goal-shy striker Keane

October 1, 2008

Javier Mascherano has joined the clamour of appreciation from Anfield for Robbie Keane as Liverpool prepare for their Champions League Group D home clash with PSV Eindhoven.

Keane is still to score after 10 games for his new club following the Irishman's £20million move from Tottenham in the summer.

In recent weeks Keane has received strong support from Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt, and now midfielder Mascherano has added his weight to the argument.

He said: "Robbie Keane is a great player, and now he is playing in a different system to what he was used to at Spurs.

"He must get used to the different way that we play, but of course I believe he can have a great partnership with Fernando Torres."

With Gerrard searching for his 100th goal for the club - as Liverpool look for their 100th goal under manager Rafael Benitez in European competition - Mascherano is confident Keane will get off the mark.

He said: "Robbie has scored lots of goals in his career and he will do the same here."

Benitez will have Mascherano back from a calf injury to face the Dutch champions.

The problem now for Benitez is the rampant expectation that sees them expected to beat sides like PSV at Anfield.

It does not help the Anfield coach's plan for calm and concentration when Liverpool have such a good record against Eindhoven.

In 2006-07 on the way to the Athens final against AC Milan, Liverpool met PSV four times in the competition. The sides played out a goalless draw in Holland in the group stages with Liverpool winning the return 2-0.

They then met in the quarter-final with the Reds winning 3-0 in Holland and by a one-goal margin at Anfield.

Benitez said: "PSV are a different side with a different manager and many players since the last time we played them in Europe.

"Yes, we have beaten them at Anfield twice, but that is when things can be dangerous. People expect things to happen.

"The fact that PSV lost their opening group match to Atletico Madrid is also a problem for us. They have to get something here now and they will sit and defend and try to catch us on the counter-attack.

"Now when we are in a good situation, people are really happy, and everybody is expecting to see the team playing well and scoring goals.

"But I think it's more important to be concentrated, to be focused and keep on winning."

Liverpool, unbeaten this season, can all but end PSV's interest in the competition tonight.

But Benitez, who takes charge of his 250th Liverpool game, said: "When you are playing well and winning games, with everyone talking about how good you are, it is important to calm down and get people talking only about the next game.

"It is dangerous when you hear people talking well about your team, then we have to make sure we do not listen to what is being said but just concentrate on the future."