Champions League: Liverpool Find Perfection

Jonathan ManleyCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2007

IconLiverpool booked their place in the knockout phase of the European Champions League with a stunning 4-0 victory in Marseille.

In a match that manager Rafael Benetiz described as "perfect," Liverpool clinically and emphatically disposed of a team that had never lost on home soil to an English team in European competition.

After a depressing first Premier League loss at Reading on Saturday, Liverpool needed a much improved performance to have any chance of progressing to the Champions League second round.

Benitez reverted to a 4-4-2 system with Steven Gerrard and Javier Mascherano in central midfield and Yossi Benayoun and Hary Kewell working the flanks. Fernando Torres was joined up front by the tireless Dirk Kuyt.

It was clear Liverpool were fired up and intent on taking the game to Marseille from the start when an early Gerrard goal was just the tonic to ease the fans' nerves on such a crucial night.

Fernando Torres provided the highlight of the night with a wonderful solo goal to double Liverpool's lead after only eleven minutes. His run was poetry in motion as he majestically cut through the Marseille defense and slid the ball into the corner of the net. It is becoming a familiar sight this season but you will never tire of seeing such brilliance.

Dirk Kuyt got on the score sheet right at the beginning of the second half to kill the game as a contest and the only outcome still in doubt was whether Liverpool would finish as group winners or runners up. With Porto winning against Besiktas it would be second spot for the Reds.

Ryan Babel, who had come on from the bench, grabbed an injury time fourth as Liverpool sealed a comfortable but memorable win to qualify for the last 16. 

So securing second spot will see Liverpool face one from AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid, or Sevilla. Whether it's to be Italy or Spain next for Liverpool, they will be in confident mood after this latest European performance and will fear nobody in their latest quest for European domination.