Liverpool 1-0 Marseille

Champions League Group D Match 5
Wednesday 26 November 2008 - 7:45 pm
Anfield
Liverpool1
0Marseille
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Liverpool qualified from the group after the return of Steven Gerrard saw him score a first half winner, but the reds were anything from convincing after failing to create many decent chances in a match that Liverpool started with arguably their strongest line up.

Keane and Lucas headed to the bench as Gerrard and Alonso returned but Liverpool found it tough going.

Nearly all of the reds few chances arrived in the first half.  It was Dirk Kuyt who had the first real chance on 21 minutes but a tame header at the keeper was the end result, but within a minute Xabi Alonso whipped in a cross for Steven Gerrard to place a perfect header in to the net from the back post.

Welcome back Stevie!

Reina was needed to put a shot from Taiwo on to the post as the first half closed.

But in the second half the reds were poor.  Ben Arfa was a constant threat to the reds and for long periods of the game Liverpool were defending wave after wave of Marseille pressure.  We were thankful their finishing wasn’t up to match otherwise an equaliser would have been certain.

It was Benoit Cheyrou who managed their best attempt, a powerful curling free kick that Reina produced a fantastic diving save to tip round the post.  Jamie Carragher was the reds man of the match and constantly mopped up at the back.

Liverpool are through although first place is far from assured in the group, and probably undeserved.  It may have been a stroll compared to last year but the reds ended the group on a high after 3 quality performances last time round.

This time we are limping over the line.  The bad news for reds fans is that Torres suffered an injury recurrence.

Post Match

Rafa:

“The second half was a bit scary and it was definitely not the best game of football.

“The most important thing for us is that we know the job is now done.

“We were a bit scared but we knew we had the quality to win the game and go through to the last 16.”

“It’s just about finishing the job now. I’m not sure what side I will play. We have won the group before and lost in the second round to Benfica so you never know.”

Steven Gerrard:

“Fernando is the key. Playing behind him is great for me. His runs are great. Tonight I scored the goal but I’m sure if the manager keeps playing us together I will provide him with a few.

“It was a nervy match but still a job well done. We wanted all three points and a clean sheet and we got both of those.

“It was a frustrating second half for us. We lost control a bit and there are a few things that need looking at. They are organised and fighting to stay in the competition.

“We knew that it would be a difficult tie but we stuck together and hopefully in a few days the second-half performance will be forgotten.”

Teams

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio (Dossena 46), Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt (Leiva Lucas 85), Gerrard, Riera (Benayoun 63), Torres.

Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Keane, Babel, Kelly.

Booked: Mascherano.

Goals: Gerrard 23.

Marseille: Mandanda, Bonnart (Samassa 89), Zubar, Hilton, Taiwo, Ziani, Cana, Cheyrou, Ben Arfa, Niang, Kone (Valbuena 78).

Subs Not Used: Riou, Rodriguez, Zenden, Kabore, Grandin.

Booked: Niang.

Att: 40,024

Ref: Olegario Benquerenca (Portugal).

3 comments on
Liverpool 1-0 Marseille

  1. Great goal by Steven Gerrard,but poor second half Reds must step up a gear for Monday night’s encounter with the Hammers afraid we are not scoring enough goals

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