x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Gerrard double sinks Marseille

Unbeaten now in seven games this term and with a second significant victory in four days, Liverpool have that look of steely determination about them.

Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring his second goal from the penalty spot.
Steven Gerrard of Liverpool celebrates scoring his second goal from the penalty spot.

Unbeaten now in seven games this term and with a second significant victory in four days, Liverpool have that look of steely determination about them. Their 2-1 Champions League Group D win over an impressive Marseille side last night followed Saturday's victory over Manchester United, a result that has sent shock waves around Europe. Liverpool's success in the Stade Velodrome, thanks to a Steven Gerrard double, was not as impressive as the win over the English champions, but it has kept the ball rolling for Rafael Benitez's men. The Anfield boss said: "We must do better and I know we can be better. "The second half when Marseille came at us and created several good openings, showed that we have got the mental toughness for such a match. "We know we can improve, the players said that in the dressing room afterwards, but we have quality and we are now in a very strong position in our group. "We are at home to PSV Eindhoven next, and as long as we win our home matches in this group, we will qualify." Gerrard's double was his 99th goal for the club with the scoreline giving Benitez his 99th European goal since he arrived at Anfield. And the Spaniard hailed the "fantastic" impact of skipper Gerrard, who struck twice in six first-half minutes. Liverpool were behind to an early goal from Marseille skipper Lorik Cana, before Gerrard ? who had not started a match for a month following a groin operation ? intervened. The England midfielder's first was a stunning 25-yard effort, before he put away a twice-taken penalty. Boss Benitez said: "Gerrard's first goal was fantastic. But the whole team worked really hard for the victory.

"It was important to get our group matches off to the right start, but clearly we can play better. "However, we are now in a very good position and if we can win our home matches in this group we should qualify for the next stage of the competition. "But we had to work very hard for the victory. "Marseille are a better side than when we won here 4-0 in last season's competition, and they proved that with the way they played and the amount of chances they created. "We were able to keep Gerrard and Fernando Torres on the pitch for about an hour after their recent injuries, and then it was left to the rest of the team to defend the lead. "We did that well, everyone played their part and although we know we can play much better, it is still an excellent start to the group." Marseille coach Erik Gerets also hailed Gerrard's influence on the game, saying: "He is a world-class player, and he proved that. Only players of that quality can score goals like that.

"We had just scored and we should have been focused on protecting that advantage. "But players of Gerrard's quality are capable of scoring goals like that and he changed the course of the match. "I am very disappointed with the result. "We created enough chances to have won. I am angry with the outcome because we were unable to make use of our good play and the opportunities we created. "It is really annoying, we cannot afford to lose home games like that if we are to qualify. "Now we must play Atletico Madrid next away from home. "They have already won their first match and if we cannot win in Madrid, we will be facing a very difficult task to qualify for the next stage."

Group A Chelsea 4 Bordeaux 0 Roma 1 CFR Cluj 2 Group B Panathinaikos 0 Inter Milan 2 Werder Bremen 0 Anorthosis Famagusta 0 Group C Barcelona 3 Sporting 1 Basle 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Group D Marseille 1 Liverpool 2 PSV Eindhoven 0 Atletico Madrid 3

*PA Sport