After The Match 


Marseille-Liverpool 0-4 (0-2)         11.12.07                        CL
Goals: Gerrard (4 pen), Torres (11), Kuyt (47), Babel (90)
Team: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun,  Gerrard, Kewell, Mascherano, Kuyt, Torres
Subs: Aurelio (Kewell 67), Babel (Torres 77), Lucas (Kuyt 86)
Not used: Itandje, Hobbs, Finnan, Crouch
Yellow: Carragher (29), Aurelio (89)      Cana (41)
Red: None
Referee: Terje Hauge (Norway)
Attendance: 53,000
Shots on target: 0-6
Shots off target: 7-9
Blocked shots: 4-1
Fouls conceded: 13-19
Corners: 6-2
Offsides: 2-5
Possession: 67.5-32.5
Yellow: 1-2
HEADLINES "...every one
of us did
our job."

Steven Gerrard

1212: Torres hopes to renew Real rivalry
1212: Credit due for stunning show
1212: Carragher hails super Gerrard
1212: Benayoun: Only Liverpool could have done it
1212: Benitez salutes confident display
1112: Carragher: One of the great results
1112: Skipper delighted with Liverpool victory
1112: Reds roll over Marseille

Torres hopes to renew Real rivalry

By Tom Adams - Setanta Sports

Having helped inspire Liverpool to blast their way to the Champions League knockout stages, Fernando Torres has now set his sights on renewing hostilities with his old adversaries Real Madrid.

The Spain international – who scored the second goal in the 4-0 win over Marseille that secured Liverpool’s progression – was an icon at Real’s city rivals Atletico before his summer move to Anfield.

Rafa Benitez’s side will face one of Real, Barcelona, Inter and Milan in the last 16 – as well as Sevilla if they finish above Arsenal on Wednesday night – and Torres would relish the opportunity to take on the Spanish capital’s more fashionable and successful side once more.

"I hope that we draw Real Madrid, that would be a great tie,” said Torres on the club’s official website. “We have a chance to play a team from Spain or Italy, but playing Madrid would be really good.

"It would be better to play a Spanish side than an Italian one, although it would not be bad to meet Milan and gain some revenge for the final last season.

"It can be a Spanish or Italian team. All the teams are strong and to finish second is not the best.

"But it is all the same really, as we know that the level will be very high.

"Sevilla in the Champions League have been strong and Madrid and Barcelona are teams that aspire to winning the whole competition."

Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano has hailed Torres as a ‘monster’ player after his goal against Marseille took his recent tally to nine strikes in 11 games.

The Spain star is repaying every penny of his club record transfer fee at present and Mascherano believes there are few better strikers in world football.

“Fernando Torres is a monster of football," said Mascherano. "For me he is one of the best forwards in the world at the moment because he is able to make anything happen on the pitch."

We have to think about the Manchester United game and forget about Reading. Sunday's game is key as we are both near the top of the table.

"We cannot fail and it is necessary to play in the same way as we did against Marseille.

"We won 4-0 and people might think that was because Marseille are a poor side - that is not the case, we simply imposed ourselves on the game."

Credit due for stunning show

By Tommy Smith - Liverpool Echo

When it’s needed most Liverpool have that incredible knack of producing the performance they require.

Make no mistake about it , the mauling of Marseille ranks as the best of the season.

The players deserve all the plaudits for their tremendous show and Rafa Benitez, who I have had a go at in the piece below, must be congratulated for the way his team went about their mission.

But I admit to being totally confused.

How can we play that badly on Saturday and then turn it on last night? How can we pick up one point from the first three Champions League games, look dead and buried (almost), and then win our next three and score 16 goals into the bargain?

One minute you are watching the Reds, as at Reading, thinking what the hell is going on. The next, you see a European tie in which they were majestic.

Benitez put pressure on himself with Saturday’s result, but it all evaporated in the two-goal salvo early on and character of a brilliant team effort.

Perhaps the manager must take into account that players are more durable than he thinks. They can play three games in a week.

When he picks his best team we can beat anyone. On this show it doesn’t matter being first or second in the group. That
4-0 romp sent a message to all the other sides – and who will want to face them on that form?

The difference in the last two games has been unbelievable. We had consistency before Reading, let’s now have it from here on, with our best team.

I was thrilled to bits. They meant business from the start, effectively killing off the French side with the Gerrard rebound and a stunning goal from Fernando Torres – what a player.

We were solid at the back, and were always going forward. Kuyt’s goal settled it and Babel’s was the icing on the cake.

Perhaps Rafa should tell his players they’re playing Real Madrid on Sunday, followed by Barcelona in the Carling Cup next week! Two more cup finals and, with the pressure on, the Reds usually turn it on.

Well done, lads. Well done, Rafa. I’ll happily buy him a drink next time I see him if he likes.

Carragher hails super Gerrard

By David Prentice - Liverpool Echo

Jamie Carragher today saluted record-breaking skipper Steven Gerrard after Liverpool stormed into the knockout stages of the Champions League last night.

Gerrard became the Reds’ leading European goalscorer when his early strike put them on course for an emphatic 4-0 victory in Marseille.

The goal took him beyond Michael Owen’s club record of 22 in Europe and it was his 10th strike in the Reds’ last 11 games.

Carragher said: “He’s definitely one of the best players in the world. You look at Kaka and Messi, but they probably play further forward.

“But for me he’ll go down alongside Kenny Dalglish as one of the greatest players ever to have played for Liverpool and at the moment he’s probably in the top four or five players in the world.”

Gerrard also became the first Liverpool player since John Aldridge in 1989 to score in seven successive matches.

But Carragher admits he was worried that his skipper might not even get the opportunity to play a part in last night’s Group A decider.

Just seconds after kick-off Gerrard crumpled from a fierce tackle and lay prostrate for fully 30 seconds before getting gingerly to his feet.

“I was worried because he doesn’t normally go down,” added Carragher. “It looked like it might have been something serious, but he got back up, carried on and won the penalty as well.”

The fact that Liverpool finished second in Group A means that the Reds will face either AC Milan, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Barcelona or possibly Seville in the last 16.

But Carragher insists the draw on December 21 holds no fears.

“We’ll be a big game for them as well don’t forget. When you’re in the Champions League you play the best teams in Europe.

“It’s good players, the top teams in the best stadiums, but if you want to progress you’ve got to beat the best.”

Asked if the result last night lifted pressure on boss Rafa Benitez, Carragher added: “I haven’t got a clue. That’s not up to us. We just get on with playing and at the moment we’re doing all right and we just hope to keep it going.”

Benayoun: Only Liverpool
could have done it

Premiership Latest

Yossi Benayoun’s belief that there’s only one team that can win three games in a row and that is Liverpool, has come true as Rafa Benitez’s side scored an emphatic 4-0 triumph in Marseille to enter the last 16 in the Champions League on
Tuesday night.

The 27-year-old attacker had joined the Reds during the summer from West Ham United and was in danger of being out of the Champions League in the group stages itself as the Reds picked just one point from the opening three games giving themselves a mountain to climb.

However, the Merseysiders then bounced back in commanding fashion as they scored a whopping 16 goals to win the next three games to book their place in the knock-out stages.

"Honestly, I always believed we could do it," Benayoun told

"Even at the time, I said that if there's one team that can win three games in a row, it's Liverpool. This is a club that's proved over the last few years that it can deal with big games in this competition. We knew every game would be like a final and we won three finals."

On the game in a hostile atmosphere at the Stade Velodrome where the home side also had a lot riding on the contest, the Israel skipper said: "We knew all about Marseille's great fans so it was important to get an early goal.

"That gave us confidence and our second came soon after. It killed the game and after that their supporters weren't so noisy anymore."

Benitez salutes confident display


Rafael Benitez hailed Liverpool's ability to produce under pressure after the 4-0 win in Marseille saw them make Champions League progress.

The win, sealed courtesy of goals by Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel, was the Reds' third in a row in Group A.

After picking up just one point from their opening three matches, they found form when they needed to with Tuesday's victory at the Stade Velodrome following thrashings against Besiktas (8-0) and Porto (4-1).

Benitez was delighted with the way his men handled the pressure against Marseille, and said: "They players have showed character in important games before and they have showed it again.

"When we lost against Besiktas and played badly against Marseille, I said we still had confidence.

"The team was still playing well in the league and scoring goals. That gave us more confidence.

"People are talking about how good the side is compared to last year, but we showed here that we can do different things.

"The performance was really good. We played compact as a unit, played well in attack, had our chances and didn't concede."

Benitez is set to have talks with club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett this weekend.

The Spaniard's position has been under scrutiny after he publicly criticised the Americans' reluctance to release more funds for the January transfer window.

He will hope the team's performance against Marseille and subsequent qualification for the knockout stages puts him in a stronger position heading into the talks.

He added: "I was not thinking about the meeting. I must simply try to do my job.

"You could see the players, supporters, everyone were together. Everyone wants to win and we should talk about that, not the meeting.

"I am always confident - you can see that the players and supporters are happy, and this is good for the future of the club.

"I am not thinking about my situation every day, I am just thinking about my team and how they can improve."

Carragher: One of the great results

By Adam Bryant - LFC Online

Jamie Carragher was happy after Liverpool's 4-0 win over Marseille and believes it ranks highly among Liverpool's best European games.

"We've done well over the last few years in Europe and that's got to be right up there with some of the great results we've had," said the Liverpool defender.

"We did know it was going to be difficult but the two early goals put us in a great position and we've just played counter attack and caught them a couple of times and defended well.

When asked about the situation involving Rafael Benitez and the club's owners he added: "We just want to concentrate on the football. As players we just concentrate on playing and that's nothing to do with us.

"We don't need the publicity maybe, but that's up to other people. We just concentrate on ourselves and are just delighted to be in the draw in a week or so."

Skipper delighted with Liverpool victory

By Adam Bryant - LFC Online

Steven Gerrard was delighted with the team's performance in Marseille, after beating the French side 4-0 to claim a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

"We've made it difficult for ourselves in this group," he said after the game.

"We were disappointed that it had to come down to the last game but we needed a big performance tonight, a performance full of character and hard work.

"We know we've got the quality so we're very happy with the performance.

"The most important word in the team talk was 'cup final'. when the manager said it was a cup final situation, you know you've got to give everything you've got. From the goalkeeper to the front men today, every one of us did our job.

"The players concentrate on our jobs on the pitch. Whatever the situation is off the pitch between the manager and the owners that's between them.

"The players stay focused on the game because is we concentrate on things off the pitch it will affect our performance, so we keep focusing on the football."

Reds roll over Marseille

By Alex Livie - Setanta Sports

Liverpool completed the great escape with a 4-0 win over Marseille to book their passage to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

A draw and two defeats from their opening three games left The Reds’ participation in the competition in the balance, but they seem to like to do things the hard way as wins in their last three games earned them second spot in the group.

Liverpool may not have had The Kop to suck the ball in, but they hardly needed it as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres knocked the belief out of Marseille inside 11 minutes.

Gerrard scored after four minutes, ramming home at the second attempt after his initial penalty had been parried by Steve Mandanda.

The drive of Gerrard was replaced by the silk of Torres on 11 minutes as the Spaniard slalomed his way past defenders before stroking home to score the goal which silenced Stade Velodrome.

Dirk Kuyt may have been overshadowed by Torres, but the Dutchman produced a fine display in his own right and he added the third minutes into the second half which enabled Liverpool to move into cruise control.

And with time running out, Ryan Babel skipped clear to put some gloss on a scoreline which did not flatter Liverpool.

The pace was breathless from the outset and Torres had a great chance inside 60 seconds, but he miscontrolled having been found in acres of space by fellow countryman Jose Reina.

Marseille did not heed the warning as on eight minutes Gerrard was allowed to drift beyond the home side’s defence and he did not need a second invitation as he drove into the box and was dumped to the turf by the desperate tackle of Gael Givet.

Givet somehow avoided a red card, but Gerrard made him pay, albeit at the second attempt, as he slammed home after Mandanda had saved his initial penalty.

Marseille had hardly had time to regroup when Liverpool hit them again and if ever a goal demonstrated exactly why a manager opted to spend upwards of £20 million on a forward this was it.

The danger was not obvious when Torres collected a pass from Harry Kewell on the edge of the box, but the quicksilver forward turned on the afterburners to leave three defenders trailing before showing great composure to curl the ball into the far corner.

Marseille were impotent as an attacking force and Erik Gerets called for the ace in his pack on 31 minutes: Samir Nasri.

The rising star of French football came into the game as an injury doubt, but he immediately lit up the crowd with a dashing run and a piece of skill which drew a foul.

Nasri may be good, but he is no miracle worker and although L’OM played with far more purpose, the greater threat came from Liverpool.

Gerrard went close with a free kick, Kewell fired over from ten yards and Torres scooped over after leaving Julien Rodriguez trailing in his slipstream, as Liverpool threatened to run riot.

Gerets turned to Djibril Cisse at the start of the second half, but they were dealt a sucker punch on 48 minutes and once again the home side were the architects of their own downfall.

Mandanda’s clearance was awful, Kewell whipped a first time ball into the box and with the Marseille defence static, Kuyt dashed in to slam home the killer third.

Marseille fans stirred from their slumber just past the hour, as Mathieu Valbuena’s dinked cross found Cisse and he headed a foot wide of goal.

It appeared unthinkable before the game, but Rafa Benitez was afforded the luxury of being able to rest players ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Manchester United and he pulled off Torres.

Ryan Babel was introduced and he dashed onto a long ball before rounding Mandanda and slotting a fourth as Liverpool moved ominously into the last 16.

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