UEFA Champions League Group A Game
Wednesday 3rd October 2007 @ 7:45pm
Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season is over after the reds gave one of their worst European performances in years to leave themselves with a mountain to climb to advance in this competition.
Bolo Zenden put in a great performance for Marseille as Reina was kept busy all night long. Marseille can consider themselves unlucky that they had a first half goal ruled out for offside but nobody could deny their second half winner which was one of numerous shots that Marseille had from outside of the box.
Let’s not make any excuses about tonight’s performance. The reds were a disgrace. The endeavour Liverpool managed in the final 10 minutes in which we finally had some chances only proves that the Liverpool players simply didn’t put the effort in to the game in the first 80.
Benitez started the game making five changes to the winning side of the weekend. Sebastian Leto was a surprise inclusion on the wing, and Peter Crouch started up front with Torres. Benayoun was rewarded for his weekend goal with a starting place, with Sissoko and Gerrard completing the midfield.
The reds had an early chance to score but Torres fluffed it with a poor first touch. After that it was one way traffic of the wrong sort. Marseille scored in the 37th minute but the goal was disallowed for offside – replays suggested the decision was harsh on Marseille.
Liverpool didn’t respond to this as we would imagine and the second half continued with Marseille enjoying most of the possession. Momo Sissoko appeared to be having difficulty finding anybody in a red shirt, and Steven Gerrard enjoyed an unusually quiet night.
The goal was coming, and it was a goal worthy of our great European stadium. It was Mathieu Valbuena who scored the winner in the 77th minute – his curling shot beat Reina to the top corner.
Gerrard had been booked early in to the game, and consider himself very lucky that he didn’t see a second yellow card for a lunge on a Marseille player late on.
Reina was probably the pick of the reds players, on possibly his busiest night since he joined Liverpool.
Worryingly the reds are now 5 points behind leaders Marseille in the group and will need to get maximum points out of the next two games (home and away to Besiktas) to be in with a chance of qualifying.
Liverpool: Reina, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Aurelio (Voronin 70), Benayoun, Gerrard, Sissoko, Leto (Riise 52), Torres, Crouch (Kuyt 75).
Subs Not Used: Itandje, Arbeloa, Babel, Mascherano.
Booked: Gerrard, Sissoko, Carragher.
Marseille: Mandanda, Bonnart, Rodriguez, Givet, Taiwo, Cana, Cheyrou, Valbuena (Oruma 83), Ziani, Zenden (Arrache 87), Niang (Cisse 70).
Subs Not Used: Hamel, Zubar, M’Bami, Moussilou.
Goals: Valbuena 77.
Ref: Konrad Plautz (Austria).Post Match Comments [Click] Latest Champions League Group A Table [Click] Forum Discussion on this game [Click]