Watching Argentina team-mate Carlos Tévez win the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United FC last season has made Liverpool FC's Javier Mascherano doubly determined to take the title this time round.
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Javier Mascherano's ambition to win the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool FC has been heightened by bitter memories, plus a small measure of envy, making him even keener to claim European club football's greatest prize.
Mascherano was on the losing side against AC Milan in Athens in the 2007 final and, after watching fellow Argentinian international and close friend Carlos Tévez lift the UEFA Champions League trophy with Manchester United FC last season, he craves success more than ever. Speaking ahead of Liverpool's Group D home encounter with PSV Eindhoven, Mascherano said: "It was a big disappointment to lose the Champions League final two years ago, but I have to think forward. I spoke to Carlos and he was really happy about winning this trophy. It was good for him and I think he deserved it, but obviously I want to win like him."
The 24-year-old midfielder says he has recovered from the calf strain which kept him out of Liverpool's 2-0 win against Everton FC in the Merseyside derby at the weekend, which confirmed his side's best ever start to a Premier League campaign – with 14 points out of a possible 18. "Looking at the statistics, we are much better than last season, but it's too early to start talking about this," said Mascherano. "We know we have a big game [against PSV]. It's important to get the three points and we will try to win."
Mascherano is confident that the best is yet to come from Liverpool, who overcame Olympique de Marseille 2-1 away on Matchday 1 thanks to two goals from skipper Steven Gerrard. With the season a little over a month old, Mascherano is setting his sights on the quest for silverware on all available fronts. "I think we can keep playing at this level and improve. We say all the time we will try to fight for all the titles. We know that it's too early to talk about this, but we will try to do it," he said.
Meanwhile, PSV full-back Jan Kromkamp returns to face his former club believing Liverpool are a more complete side than the one he left behind in the summer of 2006. The 28-year-old Dutch international said: "Liverpool have got class players and quality through and through, so I would say they are a stronger team than two years ago. They have played very well in the Champions League in the past few years, so it's very hard to find a weakness in their team. We are in a difficult group and we made a bad start [a 3-0 home defeat by Club Atlético de Madrid], but we hope to put that right."