UCL: Liverpool, Real Madrid through

Group A

Liverpool 4, Marseille 0

The Reds wasted no time in dismantling Djibril Cisse’s squad. The arrow was pointing in their direction and it wasn’t any clearer than when Gerrard missed an early penalty conversion only to follow it up and put Rafa’s boys in the lead. The rest of the game was symmetrical to say the least. Gerrard in the 4th, Torres in the 11th, and then two in the second half from Babel and Dirk Kuijt. On to the knockout round…

FC Porto 2, Besiktas 0

Jose Mourinho’s former team overcame a disallowed goal early on to put two more in on the Turkish giants. Ricardo Quaresma had a particularly enlightening game, supplying the clincher in the 62nd minute. With Porto’s win, Group A was won, putting Liverpool in second heading into the knockout rounds.

Group B

Chelsea 0, Valencia 0

When your coach writes this game off as nothing more than a ‘distraction’, you know it’s going to be a bore. Avram Grant has his mind set on Arsenal later this week, but the Blues still managed to squeak out 20 shots and keep Los Ches backwheeling on occasion. With a spot already in the knockout rounds, one wonders why Lampard, Terry, and Essien weren’t rested for this one.

Schalke 04 3, Rosenborg 1

Not a shocking result by any means as Rosenborg has gotten their ass handed to them quite a bit during group play. Schalke, however, had to deal with a little bit of a scare pre-match as head coach Mirko Slomka dropped Mladen Krstajic and Ivan Rakitic from the first-team for frequenting the nightclubs. No problem, though, as goals from Kevin Kuranyi, Gerald Asamoah, and Rafinha sealed the deal and a spot in the next round.

Group C

Olympiakos 3, Werder Bremen 0

I knew the Greek champions were strong – but ‘beating Bundesliga contenders 3-0’ strong? I certainly didn’t think so. Call it luck, but all in all, Olympiakos had Ieroklis Stoltidis who finished 2 of the 3 chances he had, sparking the Greek giants to the only real upset of the day. Former Portsmouth man Lomano Lua-Lua started for Olympiakos and caused some trouble up front.

Real Madrid 3, Lazio 1

The veterans struck early for Real Madrid to make sure there was little contest when it came to a knockout-round berth. Raul (man, those ice baths and the altitude ‘sleep’ training might really have saved his career) and Julio Baptista struck before the clock turned 20. Robinho added his touch before half-time and Madrid was cruising. Lazio – with a guy as a dangerous as Goran Pandev – were bound to make things interesting. And they didn’t disappoint. With 10 minutes to go, Pandev scored. Then in the waning minutes, Pepe was called for a handball in the box but Tomasso Rocchi couldn’t do his part in converting the penalty.

Those qualified yesterday:

Olympiakos
Real Madrid
Liverpool
FC Porto
Schalke 04
Chelsea

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