Liverpool walk on

The Reds rout Marseille to book their spot with Porto, Chelsea and Schalke.

Ricardo Quaresma helps send Porto to the top of the
class [GALLO/GETTY] 

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard scored for the fifth straight match to lead five-time European champions to a 4-0 victory over Marseille and a place in the second round of the Champions League.

Gerrard gave Liverpool the perfect start with a goal in the fourth minute.

Fernando Torres scored in the 11th with a solo effort, Dirk Kuyt added a third in the 48th after poor defending from Marseille and substitute Ryan Babel completed the scoring in injury time.

“We needed a big performance. Full of character and hard work. We know we’ve got the quality,” Gerrard said.

“It was a cup final scenario. We hope there’s more to come.”

Liverpool finished second in Group A with 10 points, one point behind Porto, which beat Besiktas 2-0.

Marseille finished in third place with seven points for a spot in the UEFA Cup.

“I’m really proud to manage this Liverpool team,” Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez said.

“The team was really good today. You can’t say anything (else). We knew that we had to work really hard as a team and with determination going forward.

“We had plan A and plan B … and we needed just to use plan A.”

Marseille never recovered from conceding an early goal.

Because it lost to Marseille 1-0 at Anfield on October 3, Liverpool needed to beat Marseille to qualify.

That task was made easier when Gael Givet chopped down Gerrard after he burst into the penalty area.

Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda guessed the right way and saved Gerrard’s penalty kick, but the Liverpool captain thumped the rebound high into the net.

Then, Torres picked the ball up on the left, cut into the penalty area, dribbled past two Marseille defenders and curled the ball past Mandanda.

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse replaced Boudewijn Zenden, another former Liverpool player, at halftime, but he hardly had time to kick the ball before Kuyt netted Liverpool’s third.

Mandanda’s weak goal kick went straight to Kewell, and he passed to Kuyt.

The Dutch forward advanced unopposed into the area and curled the ball into the top left corner.

Babel added the fourth goal when he ran clear and then poked the ball past Mandanda and into the empty net.

Porto top Group A

Meanwhile, Lucho Gonzalez and Ricardo Quaresma scored a goal each to help FC Porto beat Besiktas and secure top spot.

Gonzalez scored easily in the 43rd minute from Tarik Sektioui’s sidefooted pass while Besiktas goalkeeper Rustu Recber halted with a raised arm in the mistaken belief that Sektioui was offside.

Quaresma swept a low shot past Rustu in the 62nd after exchanging passes with striker Lisandro Lopez.

“The most important thing was to achieve our aim, to get through this phase and reach the next round,” Quaresma said.

“From now on, we know only the best teams in Europe are left. But whoever we play we’re ready to battle for more victories.”

Blues draw a blank

Chelsea and Valencia played out a 0-0 draw that left the Spanish team eliminated from the Champions League and the Uefa Cup.

Chelsea twice hit the post but had already clinched its place in the next round before the match at Stamford Bridge.

“We had enough chances and played some good stuff but we couldn’t put it in the back of the net,” midfielder Joe Cole said.

“It was a good exercise for us.”

The Blues, who lost to Liverpool in last season’s semifinals, advanced with 12 points, seven more than Valencia, which finished last with four points and two goals from six matches.

Chelsea started with Andriy Shevchenko, Claudio Pizarro and Salomon Kalou in a three-man attack but still struggled to put Valencia under pressure despite dominating possession.

Shevchenko and Frank Lampard had Chelsea’s best first-half chances.

Shevchenko shot just wide of the post, while Lampard rounded off a sweeping counterattack with a header to Santiago Canizares.

The veteran goalkeeper also stopped a deflected shot by Pizarro before halftime, and Chelsea coach Avram Grant responded to his team’s struggle by substituting Shevchenko at the interval.

Claude Makelele replaced the Ukraine striker as Chelsea shifted to a 4-4-2 formation, but Canizares continued to excel.

He was beaten by Kalou in the 64th, but the effort was ruled out because of offside, and Kalou then hit the bar from six meters (yards) when he was clear and unmarked in front of goal.

Chelsea attacked relentlessly and Cole hit the post in the 84th.

“I think we played brilliant football,” Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech said.

Schalke book their place

Marcelo Bordon (l)of Schalke and Rafinha
celebrate as their side progress [GALLO/GETTY] 

Schalke beat Rosenborg 3-1 Tuesday to advance to the second round of the Champions League for the first time.

Gerald Asamoah put Schalke ahead in the 12th minute and Rafinha doubled the score in the 19th, before Yssouf Kone pulled one back for the visitors in the 23rd.

Kevin Kuranyi restored Schalke’s two-goal cushion in the 36th and secured his team’s advance.

By finishing third at seven points, Rosenborg will now go to the UEFA Cup.

Asamoah opened the scoring after a low free-kick cross from Carlos Grossmueller.

Asamoah redirected the ball with his knee and it took a slight deflection off Roar Strand.

Rafinha started the move that produced Schalke’s second goal, swapping passes with Kuranyi to break through on the right.

Rafinha then rounded Bjorn Tore Kvarme and slotted the ball inside the near post.

Some sloppy defending by Schalke in the 23rd allowed Rosenborg to get back into the match.

Yssouf Kone, left unmarked to control a cross from the left, stopped the ball with his left foot and drove it in with his right to cut the deficit.

Grossmueller fed Kuranyi at the edge of the penalty area and the striker drove the ball home with a low shot for Schalke’s third.

Source: News Agencies

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