You could almost say today’s “Tweets” are tomorrow’s newspaper headlines. Following the world’s leading sports journalists on Twitter is now the fastest media for finding the latest news and football’s own journalist community have fully embraced the social networking site. 

The World Cup was a great example of this, as both squad and eventual team selection were confirmed on Twitter much before any press conferences had begun. Now one website seems to have gone further.

Moments after Twitter was buzzing with numerous headlines surrounding Roy Hodgson’s announcement that Javier Mascherano’s wanted to leave Anfield, I jumped onto the world’s most famous online encyclopedia to do some research. According to Wikipedia: “Javier Alejandro Mascherano (Spanish pronunciation: [matʃeˈɾano], Italian pronunciation: [maskeˈraːno]; born 8 June 1984 in San Lorenzo) is an Argentine footballer who plays as a defensive midfielder for Inter Milan.” Yes that does read, Inter Milan!

On-top of being the world’s greatest trivia argument resolver, is Wikipedia now a Football Oracle as well? With this in mind, I quickly typed in Fernando Torres to see if he too was soon departing Liverpool FC for pastures new. Half expecting to see: “Fernando José Torres Sanz (Spanish pronunciation: [ferˈnando ˈtores], Mancunian pronunciation fernando touris; born 20 March 1984), is a Spanish footballer that plays for Premier League club Manchester City”, I was relieved to find out that Wikipedia has not yet foreseen Torres’ departure.

All joking aside, although it’s a rare mistake from Wikipedia, there is probably no point in them editing it. It looks increasingly likely that Mascherano will leave Liverpool to become an Inter Milan player very soon and you have to say the writing has been on the wall for a while now. Only last summer, proceeding Liverpool’s closest title challenge in almost 20 years, Mascherano was rumoured to want a move to Barcelona, the other interested party. So after the huge disappointment of last season and no prospect of Champions League football next season, is it really a surprise he wants a move this summer?

Even before the World Cup kicked off, Mascherano was dropping hints to Europe's leading clubs that he wanted a move. He had openly stated that his wife wasn't settled in England and want him to leave. Many reports even surfaced that he’d started learning Italian. And to really attract attention he had gracious words of praise for the newly appointed Inter manager and Liverpool's former boss Rafa Benitez. Without knowing what the club had agreed with Mascherano to keep him at Anfield last season or what was said before the World Cup, the timing of his decision seems to be the hugely frustrating to both manager and fans. The difficulty created by this situation must come down to Mascherano himself and the question must be asked why didn’t he announce this sooner?

Hodgson has been trying to contact Mascherano to no avail since he and Argentina were knocked out of the World Cup over three weeks ago. Prior to yesterday’s announcement, he actually played down the reports that Mascherano was ignoring his calls however, now he must be extremely frustrated that the club haven’t been able to use this time or even the time during the World Cup to source the best deal for the star player. Hope now is that Liverpool can get the right price for Mascherano and find a replacement before the season opener against Arsenal. Hodgson was defiant in saying; "The mere fact that the player is a little bit unhappy with his situation and will prefer to leave doesn't necessarily mean that he will leave.”

Despite his public show of authority, he will be desperate to have a team fully committed towards rebuilding the long-term objectives of the club and Mascherano clearly doesn’t share that desire. Hodgson’s defiance is probably more of an attempt to maintain Mascherano’s market value than a sincere wish to make him stay against his will.

If you follow the football statistics company; Opta, on Twitter, you might have seen the tweet that “Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League games without Javier Mascherano in the side” (OptaJoe). However there is no doubting Mascherano’s talent as a world-class midfielder and he will be very hard to replace. The matter is made worse by the fact that it is a world cup summer, notorious for overinflated player valuations and a short transfer window with the club in financial hardship. Whilst Liverpool will be urgently looking to conclude a deal for Mascherano, it is possibly more important to secure a replacement first. If the clubs could agree a transfer involving Sulley Muntari moving in the opposite direction, Inter Milan must be a more attractive offer to Liverpool than Barcelona.

Additional transfer funds from this sort of deal would be extremely valuable to Hodgson as he rebuilds the squad. Not that Muntari is the perfect replacement but with Liverpool’s budget in mind and without the attraction of Champions League football, there are few options available. West Ham’s Parker has been touted as a replacement but he is nearly 30 years old now and West Ham would likely want over 10million for the player.

It is certainly all change at Liverpool over the last month. The recent development with Mascherano has made Torres’ commitment even more important as the club seeks to challenge for the Champions League spots next season. The Mascherano situation is bearing similarity to last years Alonso drama. That transfer happened so late last summer that it left a huge gap in Liverpool’s squad and led to the last minute panic buy of Aquilani who has yet to deliver on his transfer fee. The whole episode definitely had a negative effect on Liverpool’s start to the season which they barely recovered from. It is crucial to avoid a repeat this year and this situation needs to be resolved urgently before the season opens against Arsenal and Manchester City.

Speculation is already rife of the comings and goings from Anfield over the next few weeks and it is certainly clear now that the most pressing and important issues for Liverpool are to fill the vacant left back position and to find a potential replacement for Mascherano.

Whatever happens I will certainly be closely following the Tweets and may even be tempted to test once again the Football Oracle of Wikipedia to keep me up-to-date on developments.

(photo provided by Elemaki)