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