Gerrard: Work needed after second-half surrender

November 26, 2008

Steven Gerrard saluted strike partner Fernando Torres after Liverpool guaranteed their passage to the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Marseille at Anfield.

GettyImagesRafa Benitez struggles to get his message across at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez chose to play Gerrard in an advanced position just behind Torres and the move paid off as the England midfielder scored the Reds' winner after 23 minutes.

After the game, Gerrard said he had enjoyed playing alongside Torres and hoped Benitez would continue with the tactic in the future.

"He (Torres) is the key. Playing behind him is great for me,'' Gerrard told Sky Sports 2. "His runs are great. Tonight I scored the goal but I'm sure if the manager keeps playing us together I will provide him with a few.''

Despite dominating the first half, Liverpool had to endure a nervy second period before they sealed the win.

Gerrard said he was disappointed with the second-half performance, but was glad the Reds had ensured their passage to the knockout stages of the competition.

"It was a nervy match but still a job well done. We wanted all three points and a clean sheet and we got both of those,'' he said.

"It was a frustrating second half for us. We lost control a bit and there are a few things that need looking at.

"They are organised and fighting to stay in the competition. We knew that it would be a difficult tie but we stuck together and hopefully in a few days the second-half performance will be forgotten.''

Benitez admitted he was relieved to see his side come away with the victory.

"The second half was a bit scary and it was definitely not the best game of football but the most important thing is that the job is done,'' the Spaniard said.

"We were a bit scared but we knew we had the quality to win and go through.

"We were giving the ball away too easy in the second half and we were failing with the final ball.''

The Reds now travel to Eindhoven for their final group match against PSV in the knowledge a win would see them top the group.

Benitez refused to say whether he would field his first-choice side for the match.

"We know we have the quality to win the match,'' said Benitez.

"It's just about finishing the job now. I'm not sure what side I will play. We have won the group before and lost in the second round to Benfica so you never know.''