Reds Complete European Comeback

ReutersLiverpool's Fernando Torres disputing possession with Olympique Marseille's Laurent Bonnard, left, and Julien Rodriguez during Tuesday's game in Marseille.
BELGRADE -- Liverpool and Real Madrid secured berths in the Champions League last 16 with emphatic wins in their final group matches Tuesday.

Nine-time champion Madrid topped Group C with a 3-1 win over Lazio while Liverpool, the winner of five titles, advanced from Group A with a 4-0 rout of Olympique Marseille.

Liverpool's third successive victory in Europe, after it picked up only one point from its opening three matches, sent the 2005 winner through with 2004 winner Porto, which secured top spot in the group with a 2-0 defeat of Besiktas.

Olympiakos Piraeus also reached the knockout phase by finishing second behind Real while Schalke 04 qualified as Group B runner-up to Chelsea, which had already booked its place as group winner with a game to spare.

Liverpool's passage means that all four English teams in the competition, including Manchester United and Arsenal, have reached the last 16.

Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez thought his team's victory on the French coast was of the highest class.

"I'm proud to be the manager of this club," he said. "The supporters were fantastic and the performance of the team was almost perfect."

Steven Gerrard blasted home the rebound after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda parried his penalty kick, and Fernando Torres scored after weaving his way past three defenders to give Liverpool a 2-0 lead with 11 minutes gone.

Dirk Kuyt made it 3-0 with a clinical finish shortly after the break, and substitute Ryan Babel finished off the French side after walking the ball into an empty net in injury time.

"The players showed determination going forward and played together as a compact unit," said Benitez, who now faces a meeting with the Premier League club's American owners over his comments last month about transfer policy.

Marseille suffered a third consecutive loss and its UEFA Cup spot, reserved for the eight third-placed teams, will be scant consolation for the 1993 European champion.

Like Liverpool, Real raced into an early 2-0 lead after Robinho set up Brazil strike partner Julio Baptista to drill in the opener and then swung in a corner for Raul to head home his 59th goal in Europe's premier club competition.

Robinho scored the third in the 36th minute from close range to help Real reach the last 16 for the 11th successive season. Goran Pandev pulled one back for the Italian side in the 80th minute.

Greek champion Olympiakos joined Real from Group C after two goals by Ieroklis Stoltidis either side of a Darko Kovacevic header gave it a 3-0 home win over Werder Bremen.

Chelsea drew 0-0 with eliminated Valencia at Stamford Bridge.

Schalke beat Rosenborg 3-1 at home to leapfrog the Norwegians into second position in Group B.

Crisp finishing by Gerald Asamoah and Rafinha gave Schalke a 2-0 lead in the opening 19 minutes, and Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi secured Schalke's passage after Yssouf Kone had briefly restored Rosenborg's hopes of snatching the draw it needed.

Holder AC Milan and Celtic advanced from Group D in which the final matches were played last week because of Milan's involvement in the Club World Cup in Japan.

n AC Milan manager Carlo Ancelotti, admits speculation linking Jose Mourinho with the club has added spice to his job.

Mourinho ruled himself out of the running for the vacant England manager's post amid reports the former Chelsea coach will replace Ancelotti at the end of the season.

"I read an article in the Italian papers about Mourinho," Ancelotti said ahead of Milan's semifinal against Japan's Urawa Reds on Thursday.

"Milan were supposed to have offered him my job. They may have done but I haven't been informed by the club that there has been a formal offer. ... If Mourinho does want the job it just gives me extra motivation."

AC has struggled in Serie A this season and are 10th, 19 points adrift of leader Inter Milan.

Meanwhile, Inter has refuted media reports that its president, Massimo Moratti, had held talks with Mourinho.