Like a lot of people, I don't see Jay as similar to Mascherano.
Unlike some, I think he can still do a job as a squad player.
Like everyone, I'm not quite sure what that role should be.
Because he tackles, a lot of people see Jay as a defensive midfielder. But that term is one I'm growing to dislike more and more. It doesn't really explain the player's role properly. I prefer to talk about Holding players. That was the role Rafa had for Alonso and Mascherano (and Sissoko before him) and the one he schooled Lucas into. It requires an ability to read the game, to anticipate the movement of the ball and the opposition players. Yes, win the ball, but more important than that, move it somewhere useful.
I've gone blue in the face explaining why the loss of a "defensive" midfielder like Lucas hurt our attacking game last season. It's because that player is the key to the change in play, when possession changes hands and you have a few seconds at most while the other team needs to rethink their attacking game into a defensive one. You need to know where every man on the pitch is, ours and theirs. The explosion of attack comes from that instant, that first ball played when possession has been won.
(Alonso rarely tackled, but he could intercept with the best of them, and his range of passing gave him an extra edge. It's harder to anticipate where the ball is going when the man in possession can effectively put it anywhere on the pitch.)
This isn't Jay's game. Jay is like a terrier, bounding over the pitch, getting in people's faces and yes, winning the ball. But when he gets it, the ground he's covered means that not only does he not know where the rest of the team are, it's a small miracle if he actually knows where he is himself. To his credit, he rarely gives it away, and there are times when that unpredictability can be an advantage, teams aren't drilled for it and if someone has spotted what Jay's up to and got himself in a good supporting position then of course, it can lead to good things, but it is a very different role to a Mascherano or Lucas.
The other side of the Holding player is the defensive cover. When you have attacking full-backs, you often want a man from midfield to drop into the back line. Lucas can do this. Mascherano does it so effectively Barca actually use him as a centre back from time to time. Jay doesn't have the tactical discipline to do this. It isn't in his nature. And, well, to be blunt, but if a cross comes in, he's not the most reassuring sight jumping in the box, is he?
Can he "do a Leon Britton"? Time will tell. He can pass a ball, and his determination and attitude will probably be very attractive to Rodgers (although I can dimly remember imagining how Danny Murphy might blossom under the influence of Rafa Benitez...)
He's not cover for Lucas, though. He never was. We ended up having to play Gerrard in that role behind Jay towards the end of last season, because however good Stevie is going forwards, he was the only other man in the squad who understood the role and had the reading of the game.