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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard: Cup final mentality took us through

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes a 'cup final' mentality helped the Reds into the knockout stages of the Champions League. Rafael Benitez's side reached the last 16 in emphatic style with a 4-0 win at Marseille. Gerrard opened the scoring after four minutes and there were also goals for Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel. Gerrard told ITV Sport: 'The most important word in the team talk was cup final. When the manager says it's a cup final situation you know you have got to give everything you've got. 'From the goalkeeper to the front men, every one of us has done our job. 'We made it difficult for ourselves in this group. We are disappointed it came down to the last game. 'We needed to perform tonight. It was a performance full of character and hard work. We knew we'd got the quality so we're very happy with the performance.' Liverpool took just one point from their opening three matches of their group campaign but got themselves back in the picture with wins over Besiktas and Porto. That still left work to be done at the Stade Velodrome and defender Jamie Carragher felt the performance was one of the best he had been involved in. Carragher told ITV Sport: 'It's got to be right up there with some of the great results we've had. The two early goals put us in a great position. 'We have come out worthy winners and we are just delighted to be in the draw.' Neither Gerrard nor Carragher would be drawn on speculation surrounding the position of manager Rafael Benitez. It had been claimed tonight's result was pivotal to Benitez's future at Anfield. Gerrard said: 'From the players' point of view we concentrate on the job on the pitch. 'Whatever the situation is between the manager and the owners that is between them. If you concentrate on things off the pitch it affects your football. We'll just concentrate on football.' Rafael Benitez is confident his Liverpool side have what it takes to compete with the best in Europe after seeing them demolish Marseille 4-0 to secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages. They will face one of the giants from Italy or Spain in the last 16, but Benitez reckons his men can cope with whoever they are put up against. 'It doesn't matter who we play now,' said the Spaniard. 'All of them are good sides but we are just enjoying ourselves. 'My team is growing and playing better every week. I am happy with the way we are attacking and defending. 'These are good times for us at the moment. We are playing well and with confidence - it's not a problem who we play against now.' With a planned meeting with club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett coming up this weekend, Benitez would have been hoping for a good performance and a victory to take into the talks. He got both, the Reds dominant in every department as Marseille imploded following the concession of a third-minute penalty scored by Gerrard. Benitez admitted performances of this kind made him 'proud' to be Liverpool's manager. 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.' When Torres scored a sumptuous second after 11 minutes, the contest was all but over. Kuyt made it 3-0 with a powerful finish from 10 yards after yet more static defending by OM, and Babel added gloss with a breakaway fourth in injury time. Benitez was delighted with the way his men played, even thought they could have scored more. 'The performance was really good. We played compact as a unit, played well in attack, had our chances and didn't concede. 'People will talk about the second goal of Torres, but the third goal and fourth were good and everything went well.' Marseille coach Eric Gerets labelled the result a 'catastrophe', and admitted his men had been beaten by the better team. The Belgian cited Gerrard's opener as the killer blow, saying: 'The first goal really hurt us. 'Right after that, you could see the players were nervous on the pitch. 'Every time Liverpool went forward, they looked dangerous. And when you have a player such as Steven Gerrard against you in midfield, it's hard to play against. 'I am really disappointed with what happened. We missed the game totally. Congratulations to Liverpool, who did what they had to. 'I will wait until tomorrow to analyse the game, but it is fair to say it is the first time I have noticed that the players did not give 100%.'