In Group A an inspirational performance from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard ensured Rafa Benitez’s side reached the last 16.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time and needing to win by two clear ghoals, all looked lost for Liverpool, but goals from substitutes Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor gave the Premiership side hope , before Gerrard drilled in the winner with a long range effort.

“Steven can play all over the pitch and he influences every part of the game,” Benitez said afterwards.

“I have said to him many times that he has the freedom because he has talent and is very important to us.

Liverpool were grateful to Steven Gerrard for an inspirA wonder-strike from Steven Gerrard sent Liverpool into the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool finished second in the group behind last season’s runners-up Monaco who cruised past Deportivo La Coruna with a comprehensive 5-0 win at La Riazor.

Javier Ernesto Chevanton opened the scoring before Gael Givet fired home a wonderful volley and Javier Saviola made it three. Further goals after the break byMaicon and Emmanuel Adebayor, completed the rout.

In Group B Dynamo Kiev went from first to third in and missed out on the knockout stages after they lost 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen.

Second half strikes from Juan, Andrej Voronin and Marko Babic gave Bayer the win and top spot in the group.

Real Madrid joined the Germans in the next phase after they sealed a 3-0 win over Roma in a match played behind closed doors.

Ronaldo put Real ahead after just nine minutes before two goals from Luis Figo (pen 61 and 82).

“It was important to get that early goal because otherwise it could have become very tense and complicated,” said Ronaldo.

“After we got the goal we were able to take control of the game and it was much easier,” he added.

In Group C Ajax sealed their place in the Uefa Cup thanks to a 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich at The Amsterdam ArenA.

Roy Makaay fired Bayern ahead before Tomas Galasek and Nicolae Mitea put Ajax in front. The Germans fought back and grabbed a point when Michael Ballack levelled.

Juventus – who had already sealed top spot were held to a1-1 draw at Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Baruch Dago put the Israelis ahead from the penalty spot but Alessandro Del Piero was on hand midway through the second half to earn a point for the visitors.

Having already qualified, Manchester United fielded a weakened team in their final Group D fixture against Turkish side Fenerbahce.

A marvellous individual performance by Tuncay Sanli saw him grab a second half hat-trick to sink Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

Lyon sealed top spot in the group after they hammered Sparta Prague 5-0 in France.

Michael Essien headed the home side in front after just seven minutes, before two goalkeeping errors from Jaromir Blazek handed Nilmar two simple tap-ins.

Sylvain Idangar and Bryan Bergougnoux completed the scoring to earn a win which saw Lyon top the group.