Reds get green light from FIFA for Mascherano

FIFA have given Liverpool permission to sign Argentinean international Javier Mascherano from West Ham.

The midfielder was bought by West Ham at the start of the English season but barely featured as then manager Alan Pardew did not feel he was right for their club. New boss Alan Curbishley was no different in his views, but Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez sees the potential in signing him. Rafa sees him as the same type of player as Xabi Alonso, who is actually now suspended for the Newcastle game after picking up a booking at West Ham last night. The manager also feels that Mascherano will find it easier to settle in at Anfield thanks to the number of Spanish speakers.

Under FIFA rules a player can only play for two clubs in the period from July to July, and Mascherano had played in Brazil just before signing for the Hammers. FIFA received an appeal from Liverpool pointing out that precedents existed where players had played for more than two clubs in that time frame, and also that it was a restraint of trade. More to the point, a talented player's career was suffering due to politics at his club and FIFA rules that were meant to protect players, not punish them.

FIFA said: "The FIFA single judge ruled that Javier Mascherano is eligible to play in official matches with Liverpool with immediate effect."

Mascherano is believed to have already undergone a medical earlier in the month as well as agreeing his own personal terms prior to Liverpool making their appeal to FIFA.

The deal will be an initial 18-month loan after which Liverpool will have an option to make the deal permanent.