Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina has described the loss of midfielder Javier Mascherano to Barcelona this summer as a "big problem" for the Merseyside club.
Mascherano completed a £17 million transfer to Camp Nou at the end of August to bring to an end a three-and-a-half year stay at Anfield in which he had proved to be a vital cog in the Liverpool side, anchoring the midfield and expertly breaking up play.
Reds manager Roy Hodgson has compensated for his departure by recruiting Christian Poulsen from Juventus and Raul Meireles from Porto, while Liverpool also have Brazilian Lucas who can perform in a withdrawn role.
However, Reina believes that Mascherano's exit represents a real setback for Liverpool as they aim to reclaim their place in the Champions League.
"The departure of Mascherano is a big problem for Liverpool because he is one of the best players of his type on the pitch," Reina said in The Mirror. "Javier is very competitive, very Argentinian and he always offers his maximum in every game. For Barca this is a good new thing, but it's not for us.
"Mascherano will be a positive surprise in La Liga. He is a footballer who works, works and works. Also, personally, he is a good character. He is quiet but very friendly.
"He was not someone who got into controversy. He never caused rows in the dressing room. He was good on the pitch, broke up counter attacks and now we need other players with his characteristics."