Gerrard sees history repeating itself -- nicely
Steven Gerrard is counting on history repeating itself in dream rather than nightmare fashion against Marseille in a crunch tie for the Reds.sports Updated: Dec 10, 2007 12:37 IST
Steven Gerrard is counting on history repeating itself in dream rather than nightmare fashion here on Tuesday.
The last time the Reds travelled to Marseille, in 2004, they were dumped out of the UEFA Cup by the French club -- thanks in large part to the efforts of Didier Drogba, who scored in both legs of that knockout tie.
Gerrard would rather forget that evening however and focus instead on the last time Liverpool found themselves needing to win their final group match to progress in the Champions League.
That was in the season following the defeat here and Gerrard played a central role in a 3-1 win over Olympiakos, capping a second-half fightback at Anfield with a 25-yard screamer when his side were minutes away from elimination.
That campaign, of course, culminated in Liverpool winning club football's biggest prize for the fifth time and their captain believes the memory of that remarkable night at Anfield can help him and his team-mates get the job done at the Stade Velodrome on Tuesday night.
"Everyone remembers Olympiakos, so our experiences in the past will help," Gerrard said.
"The big difference this time is we're not at home, so that's going to make it tougher, but we're playing good football, winning games and scoring goals.
"The pressure will be on Marseille as much as us this time. We know we're always expected to go through to the knockout stage, but after they beat us at Anfield and we lost in Turkey (to Besiktas), we weren't favourites to qualify.
"They must have hoped we'd be out of it by now and they'd already be through, but fortunately it hasn't turned out that way.
"For them not to be sure of going through after already beating us once must worry them, so we've got to take advantage of the chance we've given ourselves."
Marseille's win at Anfield in early October left Gerrard and co. with just one point from their opening three matches in group A.
But last year's beaten finalists have since hauled themselves back into contention with convincing wins over Besiktas and Porto.
"If you'd told me five minutes after the final whistle against Marseille at Anfield we'd go into the last game knowing a win would secure our qualification, I'd have bitten your hand off at that offer," Gerrard told the club's website,
"It was even worse when we lost to Besiktas. We knew then we had a real uphill struggle, but after our recent performances in the competition we know it's up to ourselves again.
"We're a different side and a lot more confident than the one which lost to Marseille at home."
Despite his confident comments, the England midfielder acknowledged that it would take a steely display from him and his team-mates to overcome Marseille in front of their own supporters.
"The Stade Velodrome is one of those arenas where the fans really get behind their team, but we're used to that and I'm sure we can cope.
"Although we took some criticism when we lost at home, they deserved credit for how they played.
"They'd just appointed a new manager and their lads performed like they had a lot to prove.
"We couldn't argue with the result because we weren't at our usual level. This time we determined to show them o