Mascherano supports Rafa

Argentine sets sights on title next season

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano says Rafa Benitez is not to blame for another failed title challenge this season.

The Reds were expected to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title this campaign, but they have struggled to keep pace with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.

Liverpool find themselves in a battle with local rivals Everton to finish in fourth and Mascherano admits they must get the final UEFA Champions League qualifying spot.

Mascherano, who made his move to Anfield permanent last month, knows they must improve next season and he has called on everyone connected with the club to remain behind each other if they are to achieve success.

"This season, the target is the top four but we need to think about next season and prepare everything so we don't make the same mistakes. We have drawn too many games at home," Mascherano told the Daily Mail.

"I know this season has not been the best time for Rafa, but it is not his fault that we are behind Arsenal. He is not on the pitch.

"To win the title, you need the supporters, the squad, the staff, the owners together.

"It is like this table in front of us. You need the four legs or it will fall over."