Mascherano cleared to play for Reds

After a weekend of rumours blown out of proportion, at last there is some good news for Liverpool in the run-up to tomorrow night's Champions League clash with Barcelona.

Javier Mascherano has been cleared to play for the Reds.

The club's official website announced the news today with a statement from those that had been holding things up – The FA Premier League. The statement said: "The Premier League has today confirmed that the application by Liverpool FC to register Javier Mascherano as a player has been accepted. The Premier League is satisfied that the contractual arrangements proposed by Liverpool FC are consistent with its rules; particularly that the relationship between club and player is not subject to third party influence.
"The Premier League is grateful for Liverpool FC's cooperation and openness at the start and throughout the process. Liverpool FC also appreciated the Premier League Board were not prepared to sanction this transfer until further information on any third party involvement in player registrations had been received from all Premier League clubs."
Liverpool have signed him on an 18-month loan deal with an option to make it a permanent deal at the end of the loan period.

Argentinean Mascherano is 22 years old and won a gold medal with his country in the 2004 games. A central midfielder, he also played in Argentina's FIFA Youth and Under-17 World Championships, and was even called up for his country's senior side before he'd played for his first professional club, River Plate. He moved to Brazilian side Corinthians in 2005 where he won a league title medal. By 2006 he was playing to good reviews in the World Cup in Germany.
His career hit problems then when he signed for troubled West Ham. The Hammers used him just seven times and he was desperate to become a Liverpool player when they made a move for him. Liverpool only got permission from FIFA to sign the player at the last moment on deadline day, although that piece of news was lost somewhat due to it being the day that DIC pulled out of their bid to take over at Liverpool.

Despite FIFA's clearance that he could sign in spite of having already played for two clubs in one year, the Premier League still had concerns. There were worries that West Ham had signed him contrary to Premier League rules.

His lack of appearances at West Ham was down more to political reasons than his playing ability, but he doesn't assume he'll walk straight into a midfield already containing a battle for places between Xabi Alonso, Momo Sissoko and captain Steven Gerrard. He said recently: "It is obvious that I was not a player for that club (West Ham). I want to gain the respect of the Liverpool players and win a place in the team on merit."

Mascherano has been training with the rest of the squad for the last few weeks since deadline day, and is eligible to make his debut tomorrow if Rafa so chooses.