Full-time - 93'
0 - 4
19:45 +00:00, December 11, 2007
Stade Vélodrome, France
It was nearly five! Benayoun teed up Gerrard who blazed over from 18 yards! There's the final whistle. Liverpool win emphatically and go through in second place, behind FC Porto.
Liverpool are about to become the first English club to win at Marseilles.
Goal! Ryan Babel outpaces Faty again, touches it round Mandanda and slides it into an empty net. Get this, Marseilles 0-4 Liverpool!
Two minutes left.
The stadium is half empty now and the strains of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' can faintly be heard...
Fabio Aurelio gets a yellow for a nasty tackle on Valbuena.
Ooh, Babel is rapid, he overtakes Rodriuguez despite the centre half having a ten yard headstart. Sadly, he couldn't pick out Lucas however.
Kuyt has been replaced by Lucas but no sign of Gerrard getting a rest. That is Steven Gerrard, Liverpool's top scorer in Europe by the way, with 23 goals.
Cisse claims a handball when it was his own miscontrol that meant the chance went begging. ome on Djibril.
Mascherano has just fired a wonderful 90-yard ball for Kuyt. He seems fine now.
Oh look, Mascherano is back on. Funny that, he looked VERY badly injured a minute ago.
Why is Gerrard still on the pitch? Anyone?
Hyypia looks very relaxed about the fact he has just raked his studs down his team-mates shin.
It's ok, he's on a stretcher now.
Mascherano has gone down heavily and is writhing extravagantly. Looks like it was Hyypia who crocked him, trying to block Niang's earlier shot.
The only people disappointed by the removal of Torres are the legions of his female fans...
Now, a chance for Marseilles, 30 yards out. It is Niang who hits it this time but just like Nasri before him, and countless others before Nasri, the ball flies a million miles wide.
As expected, Torres is the one coming off and not only does he get an ovation from the away fans, but Marseilles' supporters also clap him off. Football's the winner.
Liverpool are trying to be too cute now, which doesn't suit Kuyt, who gives it away.
Looks like Ryan Babel is about to come on, surely for Torres.
There really is very little happening you know, I'm not just out the back having a crafty fag.
Nasri tries a punt from 40 yards but neglected to get his head over it and it sails harmlessly over the bar.
Riise does well to waste a few more seconds with some quality diving. The ref blew straight away.
Poor free-kick from Aurelio and Faty clears.
Torres takes more punishment - from Rodriguez this time. Come on Rafa, get the pretty boy off!
Marseilles have forced a corner though, Valbuena delivers but Kuyt clears.
I'll be surprised if Gerrard or Torres play for much longer. This game is done and dusted.
Harry Kewell is off, replaced by Fabio Aurelio.
Gerrard fires in a poor corner and is starting to look tired now.
Decent chance for Cisse that. Quite surprising he missed though. Except it isn't.
Ooh, Cisse just heads wide from a Nasri cross! Actually, he didn't, Carragher did because its a corner.
At least Gerrard isn't taking it easy, he piles into a tackle on Valbuena.
FC Porto are now 2-0 up against Besiktas, and should now definitely top the group.
Fair play to the home crowd, they are still having a sing-song.
If this game were an alarm clock it'd be firmly in snooze mode by now.
Torres was away again there, released by Kewell. He chose to cross rather than shoot though and as the ball came back to him he tried an ambitious effort with his left foot and it flew wide.
Great skill by Nasri who juggled the ball on the edge of the area before getting a volley in, shame he controlled the ball intially with his hand however.
Torres wreaks havioc down the left again, but this time is unlucky not to get a free-kick for his silky side-stepping.
Now Niang looks crocked. Things go from bad to worse for the home side.
An awful cross by Ziani there when Nasri was well placed. Marseilles aren't getting back into the game like that.
Benitez may even give Gerrard and Torres a rest given that Manchester United loom large on the horizon.
Liverpool will sit and happily soak up pressure now, content to pick OM off on the break.
Well, Djibril Cisse needs to score four goals to rescue this game for Marseilles and to restore a dash of credibility to his shattered reputation (perhaps only in my eyes admittedly).
And for a sense of how stunned the home crowd are, it is the Liverpool fans who are now audible - that never happens at a happy Stade Velodrome.
Liverpool had a little wobble there. Nasri was brought down on the edge of the area, then Reina came wandering for a ball he never should have gone for. Danger averted though.
Well if it wasn't game over at 0-2 it definitely is now at 0-3. Barring a comeback of epic proportions, Liverpool are heading for the last 16.
Goal! Marseilles 0-3 Liverpool. You know you're not playing well when Dirk Kuyt pots against you. Kewell fed him, the back-line was static and the Dutchman had all the time in the world to slot hom. Job done.
Oh no! Look out Liverpool! Cisse is on!
Another change for Marseilles, with just seconds remaining of the half, Jacques Faty is on for the truly pathetic Givet. And there we are, what a 45 minutes for Liverpool. Ideal for Rafa's Reds.
The sparky Niang wants a pen as Hyypia approached but it was a blatant dive - then the hapless Givet careers into Torres and limps off the field.
FC Porto have gone in front against Besiktas in the other game, which means they are in pole to finish top now.
Marseilles have reverted a long ball game now and Taiwo is humping high balls up towards Niang from 70 yards. Poor.
Torres has wasted another glorious chance! He ghosted past Taiwo and tried to lift the ball past the keeper with the outside of his right boot when a left foot shot was by far the better option.
Gerrard has had an imperious half, and whenever he does I ask this question: why on earth can't he do it for England?
From the free-kick the ball broke to Kewell who controlled, then volleyed just over the bar from an angle. Very close to a third Liverpool goal!
Cana has been booked for a hack at Torres, and rightly so.
Kewell wins a dubious free-kick after Ziani got within spitting distance of him but Gerrard's effort is narrowly wide.
Nasri's introduction has certainly perked Marseilles up, though they are still struggling to find the killer ball in the final third.
Zenden's free-kick is cleared by Mascherano for a corner and from it Hyypia clears.
Another free-kick in a decent area for the home side. Can they convert one before half-time and bring this game back to the boil?
Another mazy run from Torres who beat a few players on the edge of the box but just overran it allowing Laurent Bonnart to clear.
His free-kick is disappointing though, straight into the arms of Reina.
Nasri into the action early as he wins a free-kick from the lumbering Hyypia.
A big roar from the crowd as Nasri emerges onto the field. Can the 20-year-old unlock this stern Liverpool back line?
Samir Nasri is on for Marseilles to replace Cheyrou, who has had a stinker so far.
Great harrying work from the visitors - they are playing the typical English game, fast, pressing and physical.
Another offside call against Niang who is looking to run off the ageing Hyypia's shoulder.
How Liverpool's centre half finds himself with a yellow while Givet remains cardless I'll never know.
Jamie Carragher gets booked for high feet after he piled into a challenge against Valbuena.
Marseilles haven't recovered since the goal-blitz. They look pretty poor in truth.
Reina is out quickly to deny Niang after the ball handily broke into the Liverpool box.
Play resumes and Liverpool give the ball back to Marseilles.
Marseilles defender Givet is still down after Dirk Kuyt clipped him in a challenge. He shouldn't really be on the pitch at all if the referee had applied the letter of the law when he brought down Gerrard for the pen.
Ziani is the one who unloads a poor ball when well placed this time. His flick was intended for Niang but is was far too strong.
First chance from the homwe side as Valbuena broke the offside trap but he just couldn't get control of the ball to get his shot off.
Porto and Besiktas, the other game in this group, is 0-0.
Liverpool are closing well in this period, packing the midfield and allowing Marseilles little width. They've not had a look-in yet.
Great Liverpool move. A raking ball from Gerrard finds Kewell, he beats his man and crosses for Kuyt but his header lacks the power to trouble Mandanda.
Kuyt tries to get in on the act with a volley from the box edge but he's as poor as Torres is white hot at the moment.
Poor show so far from Marseilles, as another attacking move breaks down due to a poor pass. The crowd are restless, which is ideal for Liverpool.
Cheyrou tries his luck from range this time but like his predecessors, it is an awful attempt.
Real Madrid are also 2-0 up against Lazio, so a night that promised a shock or two so far is giving us nothing. Not a sniff.
Poor ball from Zenden. Except this time it is against Liverpool and not for them.
Torres has 12 in 15 starts for Liverpool so far and as things stand they will top their group. Crisis? What crisis?
Torres is now back near his own corner flag dispossessing Cheyrou. He looks like £26m well spent so far I must say....
Marseilles try to hit back with a series of crosses and Riise flicks behind for a corner.
Well, what a breathless opening 12 minutes! A dream start for Liverpool and unless they lose their defensive heads completely, that should be that.
That was wonderful football. Kewell fed Torres on the left and from the angle of 18-yard box to the angle of the six-yard box he had beaten two players and slotted home coolly. Fantastic stuff.
Goal! Torres with a wonderful solo goal! What a start for Liverpool, they lead two nil!
Somehow, Givet managed to escape even a booking for his penalty challenege. Astonishing, especially as it should have been red.
Gerrard again at the heart of Liverpool's forward thrusts. His dangerous free-kick is cleared by Givet.
That Gerrard goal has silenced the crowd a little, but the home side are still pumped up for this match, flying into tackles with wreckless abandon.
Benitez is furious that Givet, who gave away the penalty, is still on the pitch. He was the last man after all....
Ooh, a nasty tackle from Givet gives Liverpool another chance but Riise's strike from the free-kick was high and wide.
Goal! Mandanda saved the pen but the ball rebounded right into Gerrard's path and he slotted home. Marseilles 0-1 Liverpool.
Penalty! Gerrard picks himself up off the floor drives into box and is felled. Great early chance for Liverpool!
Ooh, an ominous start for Liverpool! Kuyt laid the kick-off back to Gerrard but the ball was short, he was hammered by Niang and is already limping!
And we're off!
Here come our teams. Liverpool wearing a black kit with no sponsor, given the rules about advertising booze on shirts in France. There is a stupendous atmosphere in the ground - as you'd expect - and some very snazzy co-ordinated flag waving and sign holding too.
Also, keep an eye out for Boudewijn Zenden - who is in the Marseilles starting line-up - and Djibril Cisse, who is on the bench. How often have we seen former players come back to haunt their old clubs? What price one of those two popping up to bag a 97th minute winner?
For mere supporters of clubs outside the top four (like me) you'd be quite content with getting to December having lost only one Premier League game and still being in with a shout of topping your Champions League group, but not those plucky scousers. If rumours are to be believed, fail to get through tonight and owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks - whose grubby little fingers have been hovering over the 'Red' button for months - may feel compelled to press it.
Marseilles begin like this: Mandanda, Bonnart, Rodriguez, Givet, Taiwo, Cheyrou, Ziani, Zenden, Cana, Valbuena, Niang.
Liverpool line-up like this: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Benayoun, Gerrard, Mascherano, Kewell, Torres, Kuyt. So, width in the form of two out-and-out wingers, but no Crouch. Interesting.
Good evening all and welcome to the business end of the Champions League group stages. We are focusing on Liverpool, who are in a spot of bother in Group A. They need to win in Marseilles to guarantee a place in the knock out stages. If they lose they are out, and so might be their manager to boot.
John Arne Riise