London, Dec 6(ANI): Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is braced for a 30 million pound New Year showdown with Barcelona over midfielder Javier Mascherano.
Benitez has warned the La Liga champions they're fighting a losing battle in their ongoing efforts to lure the Argentinian to the Nou Camp.
"We were talking with him and his agent a month ago about our idea and his idea. Everyone can see he's doing really well and has come back to his best. We were really pleased to talk to him to make progress. We have plenty of time, but we are happy with him and he is happier now, too," News of the World quoted Benitez, as saying.
"He has two more years on his contract, we were talking before and we will sit down sooner rather than later and talk about the future. The last conversations that we had were very positive," he added.
Benitez does fear that Mascherano will become a pawn in the next round of Barcelona presidential elections, with Sandro Rossell and Agosti Benedito planning to make his signing a key election pledge.
Last summer, Barca officials had directly approached Benitez, when he told them not to bother making a formal offer for the player.
Benitez further said that the signing of goalkeeper Reina on a new four-year-deal worth 90,000 pounds-a-week should be a formality after Christmas.
"We are very happy with him. He has been improving every single year and he will improve more because goalkeepers have more time in their career. He's always positive and he's one of the best in the training sessions because his attitude is always good," Benitez said. (ANI)