Mascherano made his debut for Liverpool against Sheffield United on 24 February 2007, and was praised by the Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez and team captain Steven Gerrard after Liverpool's 4–0 victory. After playing in a match against Arsenal on 31 March, Benítez called Mascherano a "monster of a player". Similarly, his teammates were impressed by his talent; Xabi Alonso noted how mature a player he was for his age, saying, "He has a cool mind on the pitch. He is analysing and thinking about the game in each moment. " Mascherano's first Champions League appearance came in the quarter-final first leg against PSV in Eindhoven on 3 April. Hastily establishing himself as a starter at the club, Mascherano played in the Champions League Final that year against Milan. He and teammate Alonso were successful in stifling the creative play of both Kaká and Clarence Seedorf for much of the match but Liverpool eventually succumbed to Milan, losing 2–1. He was voted Liverpool's man of the match by the fans on the official Liverpool website.