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And we're takin' Mascherano with us!

Rafa Benitez doesn't strike me as having the chops to threaten Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to the hair dryer treatment, but whatever he said at halftime Tuesday in the bowels of Upton Park worked wonders. Going home with all three points before the Merseyside derby was all that required, and it happened. Perfect. No injuries, no controversy, no nuthin'.

Further, it appears the appropriate people have been "respected" in the whole Javier Mascherano mess, as reports indicate the Argentinian is expected complete his move to Liverpool today, possibly already wearing a liver bird upon his chest by the time you're reading this. Now there's some quality cover in midfield, Sissoko is healthy enough to return against Everton and the defense is locking down most every attacker.

Just 21 days from a trip to the Nou Camp and things are rounding into fine fashion for Rafa Benitez. Like I thought back in August, title challenge anyone?

No! No, no, it's premature. Must resist these good vibes ... argh, can't get too excited!